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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The audio recording should be considered the primary source for each interview. Where provided, transcripts created prior to 2008 or commissioned by a third party other than BHS, serve as a guide to the interview and are not considered verbatim. More recent transcripts commissioned by BHS are nearly verbatim copies of the recorded interview, and as such may contain the natural false starts, verbal stumbles, misspeaks, and repetitions that are common in conversation. The decision for their inclusion was made because BHS gives primacy to the audible voice and also because some researchers do find useful information in these verbal patterns. Unless these verbal patterns are germane to your scholarly work, when quoting from this material researchers are encouraged to correct the grammar and make other modifications maintaining the flavor of the narrator’s speech while editing the material for the standards of print.
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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 Marcelo Herman
April 23, 1989
Call number: 1989.004.29
0:11 - Introducciones, razones para mudarse a Brooklyn, empleo - Introductions, reasons for moving to Brooklyn, employment
1:53 - Volver a Guatemala para procurar visa, vida en Guatemala - Going back to Guatemala to apply for visa, life in Guatemala
6:51 - Alianza para el Progreso, documentales de agricultura - Alliance for Progress, agriculture documentaries
9:52 - Viaje a EE.UU. con ayuda familiar, razones para irse de Guatemala - Traveling to the US with family's aid, reasons for leaving Guatemala
12:04 - Comunidad hispana en Bed-Stuy en los sesenta, problemas con la comunidad hispana - Hispanic community in Bed-Stuy in 1960s, issues with lack of Hispanic community
14:13 - Teatro Río Piedras, certificación de proyeccionista, empleo en Brooklyn, empleo de su esposa - Río Piedras Theater, projectionist certification, employment in Brooklyn, wife's employment
17:26 - Participación en la iglesia St. Michael's, asociación de bloque, proyecto Green Thumb - Involvement in St. Michael's Church, catechesis, block association, Green Thumb Project
34:54 - Mejoras a Sunset Park, fuegos provocados por dueños de edificios - Improvements in Sunset Park, arson by building owners
Oral History Interview with Antonio Martinez
Antonio Martinez is from the Guatemalan coastal city of Livingston. He has lived in the borough since the late 1960s; first in the Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York neighborhoods of Brooklyn. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn was his permanent home. He worked as a movie projectionist in his home city, but found it difficult to obtain a license and continue this work in New York because of his difficulties with English. He became a hospital worker and has worked in the borough's hospitals for many years. Martinez is an active member of St. Michael's Church in Sunset Park, and participates in a Bible study group. He became active in Sunset Park community affairs as well, working with the Community Board Services and with local block associations. He brought the ''Green Thumb" program to Sunset Park, which turns vacant lots into vegetable gardens.
In the interview, Antonio Martinez relates much of his personal history. He describes the changes in Sunset Park since his arrival, and notes that it went from an essentially Puerto Rican neighborhood to the multicultural area that it is today. He also discusses the role of block associations in the maintenance and improvement of the housing stock. Interview in Spanish conducted by Marcelo Herman.
Brooklyn Historical Society initiated the Hispanic Communities Documentation Project in 1988. Over fifty interviews were conducted to document the experiences of Brooklyn residents who arrived from Puerto Rico, Panama, Ecuador, and several other Central and South American nations in the latter half of the twentieth century. This collection includes recordings and transcripts of interviews conducted between 1988 and 1989. The oral histories often contain descriptions of immigration, living arrangements, neighborhood demographics, discrimination, employment, community development, and political leadership. Also included are photographs and printed ephemera.
CitationMartinez, Antonio, Oral history interview conducted by Marcelo Herman, April 23, 1989, Hispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories, 1989.004.29; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Martinez, Antonio
- Catholic Church
- Community development, Urban| Emigration and immigration
- Guatemalan Americans
- Hispanic Americans
- Puerto Ricans
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Sunset Park (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidHispanic Communities Documentation Project records and oral histories