Skip to main content
  Cornell University

Class gathers oral histories of Caribbean residents in Brooklyn

Student walking tour of BrooklynStudents met with Caribbean residents in Brooklyn over spring break to record their life stories as part of an engaged learning course in oral history and urban ethnography.

The four-day field trip was designed for students “to observe and conduct ethnographic research and talk to as many people as possible … so the Caribbean immigrants that remain there can see themselves reflected in representations of their community,” said Oneka LaBennett, associate professor of Africana studies.

Students were able to “see how Brooklyn is changing through gentrification … and how gentrification is affecting the Caribbean community there,” she said, particularly in Flatbush and Crown Heights. “Some once-vital immigrant businesses have shuttered because they can’t afford the increasing rent. Brooklyn is now one of the most expensive places in the U.S. to live.”

Read the full article in the Cornell Chronicle.