Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Royal Relations and Brownstone Brooklyn: Two Great Events from the Brooklyn Historical Society

Click the flyer or read on below for more information:

Mixed-Colonial-American Ancestry: Are You Related to Royals?
Wednesday, April 27, 7:00pm

Before you watch William & Kate's royal wedding....Pearl Duncan will discuss how she uncovered her mixed ancestry in Colonial America including Maroons in Jamaica, enslaved people who rebelled and escaped to freedom; Scottish nobles related to the kings and queens of Scotland and England (among the nobles, one who inherited castles in Scotland); and two brothers: one a slave owner, the other an abolitionist. These ancestors settled in Jamaica, Virginia, and New York. Duncan found mixed-ancestry birth records as far back as 1726. Join us for this exciting exploration of mixed-colonial-american-ancestry.

This program is part of BHS' Crossing Borders: Bridging Generations, a series of public conversations about mixed-heritage families, race, ethnicity, culture, and identity, infused with historical perspective. Free Caribbean cocktail patties, jerk chicken and punch will be provided. Catering donated by Golden Krust of Flatbush. This event is free with museum admission and open to the public. Admission is always free for BHS members. The museum will remain open between 5:00-7:00pm.

Funding provided by New York Council for the Humanities.

The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn with Author Suleiman Osman
Saturday, April 30, 2:00pm

The gentrification of Brooklyn has been one of the most striking developments in recent urban history. Considered a "blighted" slum by city planners in the 1940s and 1950s, Brownstone Brooklyn by the 1980s had become a landscape of hip bars, yoga studios, and expensively renovated townhouses in new neighborhoods with creative names like "Boerum Hill" and "Carroll Gardens."

In The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn (Oxford, 2011), Suleiman Osman locates the origins of gentrification in the cultural upheavals of the 1960s. Starting in Brooklyn Heights in the 1940s, a new urban middle class (or "brownstoners" as they referred to themselves) began to migrate into Brooklyn's brownstone areas. Where postwar city leaders championed slum clearance and modern architecture, "brownstoners" sought a new romantic urban ideal that celebrated historic buildings, industrial lofts and traditional ethnic neighborhoods as source of authenticity they felt was lacking in new suburbs and downtown skyscrapers. They started new reform democratic organizations, founded block associations and joined forces with long-time residents to battle urban renewal. But as brownstoners migrated into poorer areas, race and class tensions emerged, and by the 1980s, as newspapers parodied yuppies and anti-gentrification activists marched through increasingly expensive neighborhoods, brownstoners debated whether their search for authenticity had been a success or failure.

This event is open to the public and free with museum admission. Admission is always free for BHS members.

Brooklyn Historical Society is located at 128 Pierrepont Street, at the corner of Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Subway: 2,3,4,5 to Borough Hall, R to Court Street, A, C, F to Jay Street.

Hours: Wed. - Fri. and Sun., 12 - 5pm. Sat. 10am - 5pm.


  1. From Pearl Duncan, who will be speaking at the Brooklyn Historical Society on Wednesday, April 27th:

    I blog about New York City’s history on NearSay, including lots of articles about the various neighborhoods, people and artifacts in colonial days.

    This week, when a colonial farm was discovered under the streets on Wall Street in the Financial District in Manhattan, I commented on the New York Times article, and a few readers commented on my comment. The city’s colonial history is fascinating. So are the ancestors.

  2. Awesome! Just added you to the blogroll, looking forward to the event.