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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 Sady Sullivan
January 14, 2008
Call number: 2008.030.32
Oral History Interview with James Pickman
James Pickman, born 1942, served as general counsel to Restoration in its early years, from 1972 to 1977. Pickman grew up in Queens County, New York and Long Island, New York; after law school, he returned to New York City. Pickman and his wife Elizabeth founded the James and Elizabeth Pickman Foundation, which they used as an outlet for philanthropic giving to Restoration in the decades after Pickman's departure from Restoration. The Pickmans were also active in the Restoration alumni association.
In this telephone interview, James Pickman describes his path to serving as Restoration's general counsel during its early years, from 1972 to 1977. Pickman provides brief biographical notes, including on his schooling and early career. He discusses the physical and political climate of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn circa 1972, remembering an area in need of physical rejuvenation, employment opportunities, entrepreneurial incubation, and the repeal of government and business policies that oppressed many of Bedford-Stuvyesant's residents - including redlining. Pickman candidly recalls a segregated and paternalistic relationship between Restoration and its early twin corporation, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation. He describes the nature of Board work at Restoration, including cultivating alliances with corporate, lending, and government institutions; and reflects on Restoration's legacy and influence on future community development corporations. Interview conducted by Sady Sullivan.
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).
CitationPickman, James, Oral history interview conducted by Sady Sullivan, January 14, 2008, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories, 2008.030.32; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation
- Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
- Doar, John, 1921-2014
- Pickman, James
- Thomas, Franklin A.
- Community development corporations
- Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidBedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories