CGP Community Stories

James Hurley, November 12, 2011

Title

James Hurley, November 12, 2011

Subject

Weeksville (New York, N.Y.)
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
African Americans
Pakistan
Pratt Institute
Pratt Institute. Center for Community and Environmental Development
Middle East
Civil rights movement
Black Panther Party
Long Island Historical Society
19th century
Youth in action

Description

In 1838, James Weeks, a free African American, purchased a plot of land on the periphery of Brooklyn. Over the next 40 years, Weeks’ settlement expanded to include the homes of free blacks and vibrant institutions, such as churches, schools, social services organizations, and anti-slavery associations. From the 1840s to the 1880s, the residents of Weeksville strove not only to improve their social, economic, and political conditions, they advocated for the eradication of slavery, housed fugitive slaves, and provided asylum for African Americans who fled Manhattan during the draft riots of 1863.

In 1968, James Hurley facilitated a workshop at the Central Brooklyn Neighborhood College that provided community members the opportunity to explore local and neighboring communities in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Little did he know his endeavor would lead to the rediscovery of Weeksville. The rediscovery of Weeksville is important not only because it provides tangible evidence that a free black community existed in Brooklyn during the mid- to late-nineteenth century, but also because the site conveys narratives about sustainability, self-determination, resistance, and the fight for equality and citizenship.

The dialogue between Ashley Bowden and James Hurley captures Hurley’s involvement in the rediscovery of Weeksville. Particularly, Hurley recounts the events that preceded and followed the unearthing of Weeksville. He provides a glimpse into the social, political, and economic climate in which the site was founded, and he explores the people, institutions, myths, and challenges the supporters of Weeksville encountered in the first five years after the site’s discovery. Some of the most interesting material in the interview concerns the site’s leadership, and the assigned and assumed roles individuals embraced during the rediscovery process.
I removed false starts, repetitive phrases, and fillers—such as “so” and “um”—from the written transcription. Other than the aforementioned eliminations, no other changes were made to the transcript.

Creator

Ashley C. Bowden

Publisher

Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York-College at Oneonta

Date

2011-11-12

Rights

Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn, NY

Format

audio/mpeg
27.4MB
audio/mpeg
16MB
audio/mpeg
27.4MB
audio/mpeg
27.4MB
audio/mpeg
8.05MB
image/jpeg
640 x 480 pixels

Language

en-US

Type

Sound
Image

Identifier

11-063

Coverage

Upstate New York
1928-2011
East Springfield, NY

Online Submission

No

Interviewer

Ashley C. Bowden

Interviewee

James Hurley

Location

5736 Highway 20
East Springfield, NY

Duration

29:59 - Track 1
17:32 - Track 2
29:59 - Track 3
30:00 - Track 4
8:47 - Track 5

Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbps

Files

Citation

Ashley C. Bowden, “James Hurley, November 12, 2011,” CGP Community Stories, accessed May 20, 2018, http://www.cgpcommunitystories.org/items/show/106.