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The East (site of)

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Cultural center that promoted Black Nationalism and pan-Africanism

Place Details

Borough : Brooklyn
Neighborhood : Bedford- Stuyvesant
Institution, Highlights in Central Brooklyn, Arts and Entertainment, African/ American, Education

Place Matters Profile

The East was an educational and cultural center that formed in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1969. It gave birth to over 25 programs and projects before it closed its doors in 1986, and it continues to be remembered in the community for its many contributions to education, culture, and political empowerment.

The East was the brainchild of the African-American Student Association (ASA) in collaboration with the African-American Teachers Association (ATA). The full name of the center was "The East Educational and Cultural Center for People of African Descent" to distinguish its focus from Western-centric philosophy and culture. From the beginning, it was dedicated to Black Nationalism and pan-Africanism and its goal was to create cultural awareness and encourage the concept of "nation-building" in the community. Eventually it went on to play an important role not only in Central Brooklyn, but also at a national and international level.

To house The East, ASA...

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Bracey, Sana. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. March 15, 2000.

Nance, Marilyn. Interviewed by Elena Martinez for Place Matters. September 22, 1999.

Niamke, Kalonji Lasina. "The Legacy of 'The East': An Analysis of a Case Experience in Independent Institution and Nation(alist) Building, 1969-1986." Masters Thesis, Cornell University, 1999.



It was a strong cultural institution that developed its own character and influenced many artists. It was one major reason why I came to New York as an artist. It used to have a dynamic energy inside.

Marilyn Nance

This is the building that first nurtured the black cultural movement. In the 1970s, it was home to the African American Students Association, Uhuru Sasa Shule, the first African Street Festivals, Kwanzaa--there were many important speakers and events here and lots of music!

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