School Colors is a narrative podcast from Brooklyn Deep about how race, class, and power shape American cities and schools.
We follow generations of parents and educators fighting for their children and their community in a rapidly changing Black neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York.
In the wake of the 1968 teachers’ strikes, Black people in Central Brooklyn continued to fight for self-determination in education -- both inside and outside of the public school system.
In the fall of 1968, New York City teachers went on strike three times, in reaction to an experiment in community control of schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn. The third strike was the longest, and the ugliest.
In the late 1960s, the Central Brooklyn neighborhood of Ocean Hill-Brownsville was at the center of a bold experiment in community control of public schools. But as Black and Puerto Rican parents in Ocean Hill-Brownsville tried to exercise power over their schools, they collided headfirst with the teachers’ union — leading to the longest teachers’ strike in American history, 51 years ago this fall.
Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is one of the most iconic historically Black neighborhoods in the United States. But Bed-Stuy is changing. Fifty years ago, schools in Bed-Stuy's District 16 were so overcrowded that students went to school in shifts. Today, they're half-empty. Why?
In trying to answer that question, we discovered that the biggest, oldest questions we have as a country about race, class, and power have been tested in the schools of Central Brooklyn for as long as there have been Black children here. And that's a long, long time.
Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of the most iconic historically Black neighborhoods in the United States. Community School District 16 covers about half of Bed-Stuy. And almost every school in District 16 is hemorrhaging kids.
Something is wrong.
This is School Colors: a new podcast from Brooklyn Deep about how race, class, and power shape American cities and schools.