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Oral histories are intimate conversations between and among people who have generously agreed to share these recordings with BHS’s archives and researchers. Please listen in the spirit with which these were shared. BHS abides by the General Principles & Best Practices for Oral History as agreed upon by the Oral History Association and expects that use of this material will be done with respect for these professional ethics.

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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.

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Benjamin Glascoe

Oral history interview conducted by Brian Purnell

August 31, 2007

Call number: 2008.030.15

Invalid transcript file.

Interview Description

Oral History Interview with Benjamin Glascoe

Benjamin A. Glascoe (1937-) was born at St. Mary's Hospital and was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. He played collegiate baseball and football for Shaw University, where he graduated in 1961. Glascoe's professional career began with the New York City Social Services Division, where he served as a case worker. From there, he was hired by Restoration in 1968, just months after its founding; his first position was in community organizing. Glascoe quickly became a leader at Restoration; serving as director of community programs, manager of Restoration Plaza, and as assistant to Restoration president Franklin Thomas. In 1981, Glascoe joined the Consolidated Edison team, where he served as manager of public affairs and director of economic development. During his retirement, Glascoe remained active on the boards of Restoration, the East Harlem Council for Economic Improvement, and the Transfiguration Education Association.

In this interview, Benjamin A. Glascoe remembers the racially integrated Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn of his youth; and details his education. Glascoe provides his impressions of Bedford-Stuyvesant in the 1960s. He recalls his different roles at Restoration. As the director of community programs, Glascoe revamped a problematic public sanitation program, installed youth programming, and created a successful jobs training program called the Home Improvement Program. Glascoe recounts an era of financial difficulty for Restoration, when the organization was penalized and significantly de-funded by the federal government because they had invested federal monies with the plan to use the proceeds as their operating budget. At one moment, Glascoe becomes emotional when remembering his son, the firefighter Keith Glascoe, who perished in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. Finally, Glascoe shares his optimism for Restoration's future. Interview conducted by Brian Purnell.

Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) and Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) partnered on the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral history project in 2007-2008 to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Restoration's founding as the first community development corporation (CDC) in the United States. Nearly sixty interviews were conducted with founding Board members, supporters, activists, artists, tenants, and other community members. Audio clips from these oral history interviews were included in the exhibit "Reflections on Community Development: Stories from Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation" (BHS 2008, Restoration 2009).


Glascoe, Benjamin, Oral history interview conducted by Brian Purnell, August 31, 2007, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories, 2008.030.15; Brooklyn Historical Society.


  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
  • Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
  • Glascoe, Benjamin
  • Grannum, Colvin W.
  • Thomas, Franklin A.


  • Community development corporations
  • Cultural facilities
  • Economic development
  • Housing
  • Merchants


  • Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

Finding Aid

Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories