Listen to some of the stories we've recorded...

7:00 - 8:30 pm on Wednesday, June 9th
LaunchPad - 721 Franklin Avenue
(Between Park Place and Sterling Place)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Visit From Evangeline

On Thursday, January 21, we met Evangeline Porter, President and Founder of Crow Hill Community Association. Evangeline has lived in Crown Heights for over 40 years. Crow Hill Community Association was started as a block association 25 years ago. Only three of the 22 members are still alive.

Evangeline Porter talks to us about neighborhood history

Evangeline told us that over 25 years ago, on Franklin Avenue, the banks and small businesses were continuously being robbed so they were forced to close and relocate themselves to a safer environment. People were scared to leave their houses and restaurants started to close early because of drug dealers and violence. Over three short years, the Crow Hill neighborhood went from bad to worse. Out of 66 stores in the area, 35 were forced to close because of constant violence.

A map of the Crow Hill neighborhood
Photo from Crow Hill Community Association website

The residents knew it was time to create change. Evangeline and her group introduced a powerful community clean-up day. These were simple yet smart steps that were taken to help improve the neighborhood and make it a much better place.

Evangeline attended Howard University and graduated from the College of New Rochelle School of New Resources in Brooklyn, NY. She later moved on to work at the school that her children attended. Evangeline also worked as a toll collector at Hudson River Crossings and was among the first group of women toll collectors, because only men were in tolls until 1956. She was also a paraprofessional at Paul Robeson High School (which was called Alexander Hamilton at the time) for a little while. She even worked at the World Trade Center when the 1st building was being built, as a guide for builders. She is a woman of many trades! Her story about almost getting hit by a streetcar on Albany Avenue made us all realize how many changes the area we go to school in has been through!

From left: Quanaisha, Treverlyn, Evangeline, Floyya, Monica

She was very serious when she said that the safety of Crown Heights has improved, but there are still more problems to be solved by community members. She said, “the economy is low, yet the rents are getting very high.” Evangeline’s passion for changing her community for the better was inspiring to all of us.

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