What is oral history? It is a opportunity for people—many of whom have never been interviewed before because they are not professional athletes or politicians or reality TV stars—to talk about their lives. Their stories, their perceptions about their own lives and the events they have experienced can give us a picture not only of them but about the times they have lived through. These are some of the reasons why a group of faculty at Brooklyn College started the Brooklyn College Listening Project in 2014. In addition, we also thought that our students were uniquely qualified to help their families, friends, neighbors and strangers to tell the stories of their lives.
Steve Schwerner, 79, has been an activist for over 60 years. He has marched against segregation, protested the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, done draft counseling during the Vietnam War,read more
Ivory, a gay man from the Caribbean, has made a life in Brooklyn, although along the way he has faced many challenges concerning his sexuality.read more
It’s hard to exaggerate Robert Scott’s impact on almost two decades of Brooklyn College’s students of color.read more
Pedro Batista grew up in the Dominican Republic, living with his grandmother and aunts. He didn’t really know his mother who had moved to New York City to work.read more
Luisa Micelli Russo is a born and bred Brooklynite . . . and proud of where she is from. “Brooklyn, USA,” she tells her daughter Valerie in her oral history.read more
Erin evolved into The Lion Kween when she moved to New York City in July 2014. Once here, she immersed herself in the spoken word poetry culture of Brooklyn and joined a community of buskers.read more
Gentrification has almost become synonymous with Brooklyn. Neighborhood after neighborhood—Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Carroll Gardens—has been transformed as real estate developers have scooped up older buildings, putting pressure on tenants to move out, rehabbing apartments and charging three or four times the previous rents.