Interview with Reverend John Powis

What was this increase in numbers, what was that doing to the schools? And- how- were they ever overcrowded?


That was the main reason that we'd started working with the schools, was that all the kids in Ocean Hill-Brownsville at that point were going to school on a half-day basis. They either went from 8:00 to 12:00 or they went from 12:00 to 4:00. And, we started looking around the borough of Brooklyn for places where they could possibly go to school full-time. So we looked for schools that were under-utilized, and some of us were also interested at that point in integration, and it just happened that all the schools that were under-utilized were in White areas, particularly in Bensonhurst and Bay Ridge and sections like that. So the first thing that I ever did in schools was that we, we organized one summer, I guess it was the summer of '64. And we signed up 1700 kids to go full time in the schools in Brooklyn that were under-utilized.