the Oral History Collection
The Weeksville Society emerged from a workshop called Project Weeksville: an archaeological survey of the Weeksville community by local college students, neighborhood youth and volunteers, which began in 1968 under the direction of Pratt Institute professor, James Hurley. With the assistance of the New York City Landmarks Commission and a grant from the New York City Model Cities Policy Committee, Project Weeksville participants searched for items of historic value beneath the surface of the ground. Since 1968, several archaeological excavations have been conducted as part of an ongoing study of Weeksville’s transition from a 19th century farming community, to a complex urban center for African American culture.
Medgar Evers College eventually became the home of Project Weeksville where Rodney Toney and Mary Ann Brown served as Project Directors. Ms. Brown developed the oral history program's narrative & methodology. The purpose of the program was to further scholarly research into records and papers that document Black history in the Bedford Stuyvesant area. In the first year of the project, titled "Oral History and Educational Unit at the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford Stuyvesant," over twenty oral histories were collected.
In December 2006, Weeksville Heritage Center partnered with StoryCorps to collect and record the stories of New Yorkers and Brooklyn residents. The Collection chronicles the beginnings of a reemerging interest in the preservation of Weeksville history, and the people that were involved in the efforts including parents, professors, students, and neighborhood youth. A StoryCorps recording studio was stationed in front of the historic Hunterfly Road Houses; it was StoryCorps first oral history intake in Brooklyn, NY. Another StoryCorps oral history intake occurred in 2007/2008. Since then, Weeksville Heritage Center has collected over 120 oral histories.
All StoryCorps (2006; 2007-008) oral history interviews are archived online at the Library of Congress/American Folklife Center.
For more information, visit: http://www.loc.gov/folklife/storycorpsfaq.html
Click on the hyperlinks below to access the oral history finding aids.
2007-2008 StoryCorps Oral History Series*
(*Series closed until further notice.)