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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
April 22, 2008
Call number: 2008.030.49
Oral History Interview with Albert Vann
Albert Vann was born in 1934 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. At age eighteen, Vann joined the United States Marine Corps, eventually rising to the rank of sergeant. After leaving the military, Vann earned bachelor's and Toledo master's degrees in the field of education. Originally an educator, Vann's career has included service as both teacher and administrator in Brooklyn public schools, and founding of the African American Teachers Association. At the time of the 2008 interview, Vann was a member of the New York City Council, representing the 36th Council District (which includes parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant), and was a thirty-year Assemblyman of the New York City Council. A Democrat, Vann catalyzed two major court cases which helped to expand minority representation in New York government. He was also one of the founders of the City University of New York's Medgar Evers College.
In this second of two interviews, Albert Vann recounts the 1960s-era Civil Rights Movement and his decision to found the Negro Teachers Association (now the African American Teachers Association). Vann remembers the founding of Restoration. He notes the institution's legacy programming; housing, social outreach, education, jobs training, and physical development services. Vann describes the 2008era Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn as so entrenched in income inequality that it is almost "like two cities," and remarks on the difficulties of presiding over an area of distinct income inequality. Vann lists female political leaders who've influenced his life, details his start in politics, describes his electoral base, and comments on his first few years in elected office. At the interview's end, Vann provides some insight into his family's background and remarks on his personal life. 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).
CitationVann, Albert, Oral history interview conducted by Sady Sullivan, April 22, 2008, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories, 2008.030.49; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- African-American Teachers Association
- Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
- Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council (Brooklyn, New York, N.Y.)
- New York (State). Legislature
- Richardson, Elsie, 1922-2012
- Vann, Albert, 1934-
- Civil rights movements
- Community organizing
- Bedford-Stuyvesant (New York, N.Y.)
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- New York (N.Y.)
- United States
Finding AidBedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation oral histories