Pamela Green, Executive Director of the Weeksville Heritage Center
by Nathan Tempey
Feb 15, 2011 | 8085 views | 4 4 comments | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Banker, computer programmer, food bank director, city commissioner and Sesame Street executive — Pamela Green has worn many hats. And now as Executive Director of the Weeksville Heritage Center, she hangs them all at a trio of 19th century farm cottages in Central Brooklyn.

Across from the Kingsborough housing development, the three houses are all that remain of what Green describes as an “intentional community” of free African-Americans called Weeksville. Established in the second decade after New York’s Emancipation, its settlers sought more than refuge from bondage at what was then the edge of Brooklyn.

Together they pursued more substantive freedoms through financial independence, community, homeownership and, tied to that, voting rights.

Lost in the jumble of bricks that Brooklyn became, a historian and amateur pilot spotted the dilapidated cottages in 1968, askew from the street grid and in the footprint of urban renewal plans.

That year began the decades-long struggle to preserve the site, and also, Ms. Green’s impressive, kaleidoscopic professional life. After receiving her B.A. in mathematics, she embarked on a career trail that took her from IBM to the University of Chicago to New York City government, all the way to South Africa where she oversaw outreach for Big Bird and company.

Laid off by Sesame Street in 2001, she looked close to home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where she’s laid her head for 30 years now, and found her calling.

“I thought that this was an institution that needed to be preserved. And it needed care, it needed visibility,” Green said. “And it had, and it still has, tremendous potential to not only teach people about a little-known aspect of African American history, but also, use that history, making it relevant to the 21st century.”

Despite the “very difficult” funding climate, the project has come alive under Green’s versatile management. Since the completion of the houses’ restoration in 2005, focus has turned to the land where kitchen gardens replicate those of historic Weeksville, and produce food for weekly farmers’ markets hosted there (June-October).

This summer look for their annual concert series, and the opening of their new cultural center in August.

Comments
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Noel B.
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July 12, 2012
Pam Green, you are such an inspiration! I live on the same block as the Weeksville Center currently still in construction and am desperately seeking the opportunity to volunteer in any capacity! You and your team are in my prayers!! I can't wait to be a part of a big and important vision!!! If anyone who has info about working/volunteering with this center happens to read this posting, please reply, with a contact name!!! Many blessings- Noel
Ruth N.
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November 10, 2011
Pam Green, hats off to you. You came in after the hardest part of the work was done. A historian gave her entire life to Weeksville from 1968 on. You build completely off of her vision. But I'm truly impressed with all that you've done. It's easy to turn something into a success when the way's been made clear for you, yes?
Madea Allen
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July 06, 2011
Weeksville is such a magical place with an amazing team of people dedicated to the continual flow of knowledge and education about our dynamic past. Infinite blessings and thank you for all that you do!
Mary D.
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June 03, 2011
I highly commend Pamela Green for her diligent work in preserving the Weeksville site. The fight, the struggle, the quest for acknowledgment of our people by no means stop now, if ever. Even in today’s corporate world, jealousy and degradation still exist. Pamela, keep wearing those hats for we are not through yet. Thanks to people like you, “yes we can” and yes we will be acknowledged and respected for who we are and what we have accomplished. The days of Rosewood are long gone! Accolades to you