Much like segregated schools and jobs, even homes for elderly care were designated for black people. Apart of the historic Weeksville free black community, the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People began in 1869 and has remained in the neighborhood of Crown Heights. It’s second location, 1095 St. Johns Place, was bought in 1899 after the growing population caused them to expand. “Dr. Susan McKinney Steward, the first African-American woman to earn a medical degree in New York State” was the doctor on record at the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People in the first years of the 20th century.
A family friend volunteered to be apart of my project but gave me the liberty to choose the place for him. When we showed up to the building, he asked, “so what is this place?” I quickly stated, “Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People.” Before I could explain the significance, my mother, seated in the driver's seat, burst out laughing with the assumption that I picked our family friend for this place because he was old. Given he was my eldest volunteer, it was partially the truth, but also because this site was a pillar of the community and ensured the proper care of the elders of Black Brooklyn. The jokes on being elderly ensued past the photo shoot. ￼
Used with Permission: Brooklyn Public Library—Brooklyn Collection