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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 Brian Purnell
August 31, 2007
Call number: 2008.030.34
Oral History Interview with Wendell Rice
Wendell Rice was born in 1943 in Conway, South Carolina, and moved to Brooklyn, New York City after graduating high school in 1961. While Rice's initial ambition was to operate bulldozers, he was stymied by racial discrimination. After a number of odd jobs led to disappointment and Rice was the victim of an armed robbery, he became involved with Restoration's community organizer training program. Rice's career was spent with Restoration, and he saw many of its hallmark programs come to fruition, including rezoned superblocks, programs in youth enrichment, and the Weatherization Assistance Program of which Rice served as director. Rice holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and political science from Brooklyn College. He has two adult children.
In this interview, Wendell Rice describes his early career, including experiences with racial discrimination within city employment in the 1960s; and his path to employment with Restoration. He recalls prime moments in his career as a community organizer, including his essential involvement with the superblocks program to rezone urban residential streets. He details work as a youth organizer, including the removal of heroin addicts from neighborhood streets, and the education of children at risk of gang affiliation. Near the interview's end, Rice explains the Weatherization Assistance Program, including its mission, customers, day-to-day operations, and technology-centric 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).
CitationRice, Wendell, Oral history interview conducted by Brian Purnell, August 31, 2007, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories, 2008.030.34; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
- Inniss, Charles E.
- Keller, Thomas B.
- Rice, Wendell
- Thomas, Franklin A.
- African Americans
- Community development corporations
- Community development, Urban
- Economic development
- Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidBedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories