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Elsie Richardson running time 12:11
(1922 --) grew up participating in the Marcus Garvey movement and was still a teenager living in Harlem when she took part in the 1941 NYC bus boycotts led by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. -- years ahead of the more famous Southern bus boycotts of the mid-1950s. After graduating from Washington Irving High School, she worked as a secretary until moving to Washington D.C. to work in government for two years before returning to NYC. After settling in Brookyn, she soon became a community organizer and activist in Bedford-Stuyvesant and was a cofounder of the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council in 1952 that grew to include 144 organizations. She worked for 12 years at the Board of Education’s District Office and juggling work, family, three children, and her community activism, returned to school at night in 1958 and completed her BA at Pratt Institute and MA at the New School for Social Research over the next 18 years. She later led Senator Robert F. Kennedy on a local tour in February of 1966. Her challenge to Kennedy during his visit -- insisting it was time for brick and mortar and “no more studies” -- contributed to the creation of the first federally supported model of community development and first nonprofit Community Development Corporation in the nation, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. The Corporation thrives to this day and this far-reaching community development project also included the founding of Medgar Evers College, part of the City University of NY (CUNY) system.
New York City Commission on Human Rights - 40 Rector Street New York, NY 10006 - www,nyc.gov/cchr - dial 311
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