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 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.
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!