Hofstra University's Suburban Oral History Project
The project seeks to tell the stories of African-Americans who lived on Long Island in the post-World War II years as the region grew to become the iconic American suburb.
In 1962, Julius O. Pearse sought to become the first black officer in the Freeport Village police. “I wasn’t welcomed with open arms,” Pearse says. “They tried to get me to be angry and quit or make dumb mistakes.” But he stayed despite the challenges. He rose to first-grade detective in 21 years on the force before retiring.
Julius O. Pearse, of Freeport, the first black police officer in that village and president of the African-American Genealogical Society. (Feb. 6, 2008)
Gloria Nixon Pone smiles with her husband, Dr. Darrell Pone, at their home in Old Westbury. Pone says his family encountered racial divide while trying to find housing on Long Island in 1956. His late father, also a doctor, eventually built a house in Westbury, he says, but not without difficulty. (July 9, 2012)
Gloria Nixon Pone poses for a portrait with her husband, Darrell, at their home in Old Westbury. (July 9, 2012)
Lawrence Levy, executive dean of Hofstra's National for Suburban Studies, in his office. Levy has initiated the Hofstra Suburban Oral History Project, focusing on the stories of African-Americans living on Long Island as the region was transforming into the nation's iconic suburb. (July 10, 2012)