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How a radical Black community in the 70s shaped Brooklyn

The soul of Black Brooklyn can trace its roots to a little-remembered pan-African collective from the 70s called The East.

About this episode:

In 1969, a group of young Black educators and students in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn founded a pan-African organization called The East. They wanted to take control of their community but knew the only way to do that was to create businesses and institutions founded by, run by, and made for them.

The East became a mecca of Black pride and celebration. They created schools centered around African teachings, a food cooperative, a publishing house, music and dance programs, and a world-famous jazz club. Even though the organization no longer exists, many can still feel the spirit of The East in Central Brooklyn today.

So, when Black-Owned Brooklyn founders, Tayo Giwa and Cynthia Gordy Giwa heard about The East through word of mouth at Brooklyn’s Annual African Arts Festival, they knew it was a story that needed to be told to the masses.

On this episode of Into America, Trymaine speaks with Tayo and Cynthia about their upcoming documentary, “The Sun Rises in The East”, which tells the story of this self-sufficient community. They talk about the film and the seeds planted by The East throughout Brooklyn today. Trymaine also speaks with Fela Barclift, a former member of The East and co-founder of Afro-centric childhood center, Little Sun People. She talks about the power of the movement and what The East meant to her as an educator.

Find the transcript here.

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