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Brownsville Heritage House

About this listing

African American cultural center

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Brownsville
Institution, Education

Place Matters Profile

The Brownsville Heritage House is a grassroots cultural center located in the historic Stone Avenue Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. The Heritage House was founded by Mother Rose Gaston, a Brownsville organizer and contemporary of Dr. Carter G. Woodson (historian and founder ASLAH/Black History Month). The Stone Avenue Library was the first in the country specifically for children. Mother Gaston lived to be 96 and while hospitalized in her last days, she was given the flyer announcing the first cultural program at the center she had dedicated her life to.

On The Web

NYCHA Journal "A 'Beacon of Hope' in Brownsville"


Luther S. Harris

Brownsville is now an 'inner city' community beset with the social ills of poverty and neglect. There is little in Brownsville that is exciting, positive or just plain 'pleasant'. My nomination of Heritage House was to acknowledge a cultural treasure that is as fragile and threatened.

Sista Zaraya

A little gem in the heart of Brownsville, Brooklyn, this place is the keeper and celebrator of tradition and culture. When I was a little girl, I took free African dance and art classes in this place. My younger sister reminisces about how she was first exposed to algebra at this house. We also traveled out of the neighborhood and learned of contributions that Africans throughout the diaspora made to the world. This place helped give me an esteemed sense of myself as a person and as a people, particularly as the media was telling a contrary story. This place matters! Hey, it beat TV or joining a gang, which were also options in this neighborhood. (November 2011)

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