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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
June 20, 2014
Call number: 2015.011.15
Oral History Interview with Isaiah Montgomery
Isaiah Montgomery was born in Smithville, North Carolina, in 1948 to African American parents. He lived with his grandparents in Spartanburg, South Carolina, until the age of six. At that time he moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn to join his parents, who had migrated to New York several years earlier. In 1963 his family bought a home and moved to 548 Hinsdale Street in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he attended Franklin K. Lane High School. Montgomery served in the Vietnam War and then spent much of his adult life employed as a corrections officer. He married, had two children, and continues to live in East New York on Newport Street, where he is a member of a community garden and the East New York Farms! Project.
In the interview, Isaiah Montgomery describes his move from South Carolina to Brooklyn; his parents' work and taking care of his sister as a youth; moving to the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn in the 1963; White flight; the rise of crime, arson, and drugs; race conflict at Franklin K. Lane High School; his children's time at South Shore High School and Thomas Jefferson High School; community gardens; and the current development and revitalization of the neighborhood. He also describes his work as a corrections officer in New York City. The interview was conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel at Montgomery's home in East New York.
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.
CitationMontgomery, Isaiah, Oral history interview conducted by Sarita Daftary-Steel, June 20, 2014, Sarita Daftary-Steel collection of East New York oral histories, 2015.011.15; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Franklin K. Lane High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- Montgomery, Isaiah
- South Shore High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- Thomas Jefferson High School (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- African Americans
- Community development
- Community gardens
- Correctional personnel
- Home ownership
- Public schools
- Race relations
- School integration
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- East New York (New York, N.Y.)
- Hinsdale Street (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- Newport Street (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidSarita Daftary-Steel collection of East New York oral histories