The Community Control Digital Archive (CCDA)
is a publicly accessible, participatory archive that provides students, teachers, researchers and community members open access to a range of digital materials, including text documents, photographs, and oral history interviews with full transcriptions. These digital materials help reveal two interlinked stories of epochal struggles around public education that took place in New York City in the late 1960s:
- the effort by communities of color across the city between 1966 and 1969 to demand and win community control of their neighborhood K-12 public schools;
- the related struggle in 1969-70 by City University of New York (CUNY) students and their supporters to demand tuition-free access and open admissions for all city high school graduates to all senior and community colleges in the system.
The archive was created in 2017 by Dr. Stephen Brier, a historian and a professor in the Urban Education PhD Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. CCDA grew out of Brier’s research for a forthcoming book on community control struggles in education in 1960s New York City. In the course of his research, Brier conducted a series of almost three-dozen oral history interviews with participants and activists in both the K-12 and CUNY struggles. Those oral history interviews, along with full text transcriptions, form the backbone of the CCDA collection, which is supplemented by digital scans of a range of primary historical materials regarding the radical transformation of both the NYC’s public schools and its public university, CUNY. The CCDA also includes historical text documents drawn from two currently non-public personal archives of people actively involved in both struggles:
- the files of the late Wayne Barrett, a well known investigative reporter for many years at the Village Voice; Barrett served in the late 1960s as a teacher in one of the public schools operated under community control in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Demonstration District in Central Brooklyn;
- the files of the late Donald Watkins, who served as a dean at Brooklyn College in the 1970s and who was actively involved in documenting the effort of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community to demand and win a new four-year CUNY college (what would become Medgar Evers College) in their neighborhood in the late 1960s.
These historical materials will be supplemented in the future by additional oral history interviews conducted by other researchers (including CUNY doctoral students) who are documenting various aspects of these community based struggles to transform public education in New York City in the 1960s and beyond.