Episodes

  • Every month on the Third Rail podcast, Brooklyn Deep deconstructs hot topics and social justice issues that impact the lives of Central Brooklynites. In November, Third Rail featured a special behind-the-scenes look at the making of School Colors, Brooklyn Deep's most ambitious project to date. Producers Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman sat down with Anthonine Pierre, deputy director of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Together, they dive into the origin story of School Colors, how identity and interpersonal dynamics shaped they way they told this story, and their favorite moments from the podcast, on and off the air.

    Satisfy your inner School Colors geek with this episode, then subscribe to Third Rail for more hard-hitting conversations about important issues in this community.

  • In this bonus episode, recorded live at the Brooklyn Public Library, producers Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman talk with Christina Veiga, a reporter from Chalkbeat. They are joined by a special guest: NeQuan McLean, president of the Community Education Council for District 16.

    Their conversation digs deeper into some of the themes of the show, and pulls back the curtain on how Mark and Max created School Colors -- and where it's going next.

    CREDITS

    Producers: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman

    Editor: Max Freedman

    Music: avery r. young and de deacon board

    Special thanks: Christina Veiga, Amy Zimmer, Carrie Melago, Robin Lester Kenton, Naila Rosario, Gregg Richards

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  • Despite New York City's progressive self-image, our dirty secret is that we have one of the most deeply segregated school systems in the country. But with gentrification forcing the issue, school integration is back on the table for the first time in decades. How do we not totally screw it up? And what does this mean for the long struggle for Black self-determination in Central Brooklyn?

    We’ve spent a lot of time on the past. In this episode, we look to the future.


    CREDITS

    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman

    Editing & Sound Design: Elyse Blennerhassett

    Production Support: Jaya Sundaresh

    Music: avery r. young and de deacon board, Chris Zabriskie, Blue Dot Sessions

    Featured in this episode: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Felicia Alexander, NeQuan McLean, Mica Vanterpool, Virginia Poundstone, Al Vann, Cleaster Cotton, Matt Gonzales, Jitu Weusi, Fela Barclift, Fabayo McIntosh, Shana Cooper-Silas, Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Dr. Lester Young, Chancellor Richard Carranza.

    School Colors is a production of Brooklyn Deep, the citizen journalism project of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Made possible by support from the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

  • Gentrification is reshaping cities all over the country: more affluent people, often but not always white, are moving into historically Black and brown neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant. But even as the population of Bed-Stuy has been growing in numbers and wealth, the schools of District 16 have been starved for students and resources. That’s because a lot of people moving into the neighborhood either don’t have kids, or send their kids to school outside the district.

    In this episode, a group of parents who are new to Bed-Stuy try to organize their peers to enroll and invest in local schools, only to find that what looks like investment to some feels like colonization to others.


    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman

    Editing & Sound Design: Elyse Blennerhassett

    Production Support: Jaya Sundaresh, Ilana Levinson

    Music: avery r. young and de deacon board, Chris Zabriskie, Blue Dot Sessions

    Featured in this episode: Shaila Dewan, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Matt Gonzales, Virginia Poundstone, Felicia Alexander, Mica Vanterpool, NeQuan McLean, Rahesha Amon, Tanya Bryant, Natasha Seaton, Liz DiPippo, Anika Greenidge

  • If you ask most people in Bed-Stuy’s District 16 why they think enrollment is falling, chances are they’ll point to charter schools: privately managed public schools, which have been on the rise in New York City for more than a decade.

    Charter schools were originally dreamed up to be laboratories for innovation in public education. Instead, many see them as a threat — competing with neighborhood schools for space, resources, and kids. Is this really a zero-sum game?

    In this episode, we talk to parents and educators on both sides of the district-charter divide to explore why charter schools seem especially polarizing in a Black neighborhood like Bed-Stuy, and what the growth of charter schools means for the future of this community.

    NOTES

    Subscribe to Brooklyn Deep’s Third Rail podcastRSVP here for the November 21 meeting of nycASID featuring a discussion with Mark and Max, moderated by Natasha Capers

    CREDITS

    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max FreedmanEditing & Sound Design: Elyse BlennerhassettProduction Support: Jaya Sundaresh, Ilana LevinsonMusic: avery r. young and de deacon board, Chris Zabriskie, Blue Dot Sessions, Ricardo LemvoFeatured in this episode: Rafiq Kalam Id-Din, Steve Brier, Anika Greenidge, NeQuan McLean, Nikki Bowen, Oma Holloway, Rahesha Amon, Odolph Wright
  • Since 2002, the number of students in Bed-Stuy’s District 16 has dropped by more than half. There’s no single reason why this is happening, but the year 2002 is a clue: that’s when Michael Bloomberg became the Mayor, abolished local school boards, and took over the New York City school system.

    In this episode, we’ll meet parents trying to reassert collective power and local accountability in District 16 after years of neglect from the Department of Education; parents trying to save their school from being closed for persistently low enrollment; and parents trying to do what they believe is best for their children by leaving the district altogether.

    In a Black community that has struggled for self-determination through education for nearly 200 years, what does self-determination look like today?

    CREDITS

    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman

    Editing & Sound Design: Elyse Blennerhassett

    Production Support: Jaya Sundaresh, Ilana Levinson

    Music: avery r. young and de deacon board, Chris Zabriskie, Blue Dot Sessions

    Featured in this episode: Kamality Guzman, NeQuan McLean, Natasha Capers, Felicia Alexander, Clara Hemphill, Dr. Lester Young, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Faraji Hannah-Jones, Andre Farrell, Kayann Stephens, Dascy Griffin, Crystal Williams, Leonie Haimson.

    School Colors is a production of Brooklyn Deep, the citizen journalism project of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Made possible by support from the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

  • In the wake of the 1968 teachers’ strikes, Black people in Central Brooklyn continued to fight for self-determination in education -- both inside and outside of the public school system.

    Some veterans of the community control movement started an independent school called Uhuru Sasa Shule, or "Freedom Now School," part of a pan-African cultural center called The East. Other Black educators tried to work within the new system of local school boards, despite serious flaws baked into the design.

    Both of these experiments in self-government struggled to thrive in a city that was literally crumbling all around them. But they have left a lasting mark on this community.

    CREDITS

    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman

    Editing & Sound Design: Elyse Blennerhassett

    Production Associate: Jaya Sundaresh

    Original Music: avery r. young and de deacon board

    Additional Music: Pharaoh Sanders, Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation, Brother D with Collective Effort, the Black Eagles, Chris Zabriskie, Tynus, Blue Dot Sessions

    Featured in this episode: Beth Fertig, Jitu Weusi, Fela Barclift, Lumumba Bandele, Cleaster Cotton, Dr. Lester Young, Al Vann, Annette Robinson, Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Heather Lewis, Dr. Segun Shabaka, Michael Bloomberg.

    School Colors is a production of Brooklyn Deep, the citizen journalism project of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Made possible by support from the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

  • In the fall of 1968, New York City teachers went on strike three times, in reaction to an experiment in community control of schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn. The third strike was the longest, and the ugliest.

    The movement for community control tapped into a powerful desire among Black and brown people across New York City to educate their own. But the backlash was ferocious. The confrontation at Ocean Hill-Brownsville fractured the connection between teachers and families, between the labor movement and the civil rights movement, between Black and Jewish New Yorkers. Some of these wounds have never really healed.

    But as the strike dragged on for seven weeks, schools in Ocean Hill-Brownsville were open for business. And for many students there, the experience was life-changing.

    CREDITS

    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman

    Editing & Sound Design: Elyse Blennerhassett

    Production Associate: Jaya Sundaresh

    Music: avery r. young, Chris Zabriskie, Blue Dot Sessions

    Featured in this episode: Dolores Torres, Rhody McCoy, Al Shanker, Father John Powis, Leslie Campbell, Lisa Donlan, Charlie Isaacs, Sandra Feldman, Cleaster Cotton, Veronica Gee, Monifa Edwards, Sufia De Silva, Steve Brier, Paul Chandler, Rev. C. Herbert Oliver, Neilson Griffith, Jay Eskin, John Lindsay, Al Vann, Natasha Capers, Dr. Lester Young.

    School Colors is a production of Brooklyn Deep, the citizen journalism project of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Made possible by support from the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

  • In the late 1960s, the Central Brooklyn neighborhood of Ocean Hill-Brownsville was at the center of a bold experiment in community control of public schools. But as Black and Puerto Rican parents in Ocean Hill-Brownsville tried to exercise power over their schools, they collided headfirst with the teachers’ union — leading to the longest teachers’ strike in American history, 51 years ago this fall.

    What started as a local pilot project turned into one of the most divisive racial confrontations ever witnessed in New York City. Ocean Hill-Brownsville made the national news for months, shattered political coalitions and created new ones, and fundamentally shaped the city we live in today.

    But as the strike shut down schools citywide, Ocean Hill-Brownsville mobilized to keep their schools open — and prove to the world that Black people could educate their own children and run their own institutions successfully. In the process, they inspired a particular brand of defiant, independent, and intensely proud Black activism that would define political life in Central Brooklyn for generations.

    CREDITS

    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman

    Editing & Sound Design: Elyse Blennerhassett

    Music: avery r. young, Chris Zabriskie, Blue Dot Sessions

    Featured in this episode: Monifa Edwards, Jay Eskin, Sufia De Silva, Father John Powis, Dolores Torres, John Lindsay, Al Shanker, Steve Brier, Rev. C. Herbert Oliver, Rhody McCoy, Sandra Feldman, Fred Nauman, Cleaster Cotton, Leslie Campbell, Charlie Isaacs, Rafiq Kalam Id-Din, Paul Chandler.

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn is one of the most iconic historically Black neighborhoods in the United States. But Bed-Stuy is changing. Fifty years ago, schools in Bed-Stuy's District 16 were so overcrowded that students went to school in shifts. Today, they're half-empty. Why?

    In trying to answer that question, we discovered that the biggest, oldest questions we have as a country about race, class, and power have been tested in the schools of Central Brooklyn for as long as there have been Black children here. And that's a long, long time.

    In this episode, we visit the site of a free Black settlement in Brooklyn founded in 1838; speak to one of the first Black principals in New York City; and find out why half a million students mobilized in support of school integration couldn’t force the Board of Education to produce a citywide plan.

    CREDITS

    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman
    Editing & Sound Design: Elyse Blennerhassett
    Original Music: avery r. young
    Production Associate: Jaya Sundaresh

    Featured in this episode: Kamality Guzman, Sarah Johansen, Cieanne Everett, Alphonse Fabien, Julia Keiser, Dr. Adelaide Sanford, Rev. Milton Galamison, Monifa Edwards.

    School Colors is a production of Brooklyn Deep, the citizen journalism project of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Made possible by support from the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

  • Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of the most iconic historically Black neighborhoods in the United States. Community School District 16 covers about half of Bed-Stuy. And almost every school in District 16 is hemorrhaging kids.

    Something is wrong.

    But today’s crisis is just the latest chapter in a story that goes back 200 years. Black people have been fighting for self-determination through their schools for as long as there have been Black children here in Central Brooklyn.

    This is School Colors: a new podcast from Brooklyn Deep about how race, class, and power shape American cities and schools.

    CREDITS
    Producers / Hosts: Mark Winston Griffith and Max Freedman
    Editing & Sound Design: Elyse Blennerhassett
    Original Music: avery r. young
    Production Associate: Jaya Sundaresh

    School Colors is a production of Brooklyn Deep, a citizen journalism project of the Brooklyn Movement Center. Made possible by support from the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

    More information at our website: www.schoolcolorspodcast.com.