- About the Archive
- About Dr. Marilyn Gittell
- History of the Conflict at Ocean-Hill Brownville
- Browse archive
- Digital Exhibits
Marilyn's role in Ocean-Hill Brownsville
Scholarship, Controversy & Activism
Joining with the black community’s school decentralization movement of the 1960s, Marilyn threw herself into one of the most polarizing and important matters of the day: New York City’s “Ocean-Hill Brownsville controversy” – the Brooklyn-based social experiment that moved the control of neighborhood schools to the socially marginalized African American communities whom the schools purported to serve.
As the head of the Institute for Community Studies at Queens College, Marilyn oversaw a program of assistance to the demonstration districts. The Institute for Community Studies (ICS), aided by a grant from the Ford Foundation, provided support to the New York City’s decentralized demonstration districts (Excerpt from ICS Update), including assistance in establishing a community board, which hired Rhody McCoy as principal of the district.
Not one to shy from conflict, Marilyn’s work on this controversial political topic placed her in public opposition to those against the decentralization movement (the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers). This opposition resulted in public attacks on Marilyn’s scholarship and career by Albert Shanker, then President of the UFT and Marcoantonio Lacatena, President, Council of N.J. State College Locals (AFL-CIO).
In her capacity as founding director of the Institute for Community Studies (ICS) at Queens College, CUNY, Marilyn was engaged in research with communities around issues of education (see excerpt from the Proposal for Resource Development Center).
Here is an example of Mrailyn's "behind the scenes" work on Ocean-Hill Brownsville.