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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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Oral history interview conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel
January 29, 2014
Call number: 2015.011.10
59:39 - Community disinterest in integration over time and difficulties faced by Black members of UCC
Oral History Interview with Mel Grizer
Mel Grizer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1938 to Jewish parents. He attended Temple University and earned a graduate degree from the University of Iowa. He moved to the Linden Houses in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1967. There he worked for United Community Centers, a local organization founded on principles of racial integration. He became the organization's Director in 1989, and currently serves as Acting President of the Board of Directors. Grizer lives with his wife and children in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.
In the interview, Mel Grizer describes moving to public housing in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1967, working with United Community Centers (UCC) to promote integration and the difficulties they faced from both the White and Black communities, the leadership and evolution of UCC through the years, White flight and the changing demographics of the neighborhood, the rise of crime and arson in the community, violence in local public schools, and political corruption. The interview was conducted at Grizer's home in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn by Sarita Daftary-Steel.
The collection consists of twenty oral history interviews (with nineteen narrators) conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel with residents (past and present) of the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. The interviews were conducted between January 2014 and February 2015. The project was designed to capture the experiences of East New York residents who lived in the neighborhood during the period when families of color (African American, West Indian, and Puerto Rican) moved in and White families moved out, and the resulting decline of services and quality of life that followed. This process began as early as the 1950s and continued through the rest of the twentieth century. Sarita Daftary-Steel is a community organizer who worked for United Community Centers from 2003 to 2013, most of those years as the East New York Farms! Project Director.
CitationGrizer, Mel, Oral history interview conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel, January 29, 2014, Sarita Daftary-Steel collection of East New York oral histories, 2015.011.10; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Grizer, Mel
- Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club (39th district)
- Thomas Jefferson High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- United Community Centers, Inc.
- Black nationalism
- Community activists
- Community organizing
- Political corruption
- Public housing
- Public schools
- Race relations
- School integration
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- East New York (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidSarita Daftary-Steel collection of East New York oral histories