Yesterday the young women in our Youth Entrepreneurship Program conducted an interview with Lillian Jackson, a community member and wonderful cook, to kick off the oral history interviews for their cookbook project. This program is a collaboration between the Mediation Center and the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council.

Ms. Jackson captivated the group with stories about growing up in the Mississippi Delta and learning to cook by watching her grandmother. She shared some of these dishes that she claimed to be able to “cook with [her] eyes closed” with us– traditional Southern dishes like collard greens and barbecue chicken with honey glaze, as well as less traditional dishes like shrimp lo mein. Making these dishes, Ms. Jackson shared with us, evokes memories of her childhood.

Ms. Jackson also shared some advice with the group: that while it is a plus to be beautiful on the outside, the most important thing is “to be absolutely beautiful in spirit and to have your brain also. With that, you’ll be able to write your own ticket and have the opportunity to do anything you want to do.”

In other oral history news, last month a group of students from Brooklyn Generations School spoke with Mediation Center Project Director Amy Ellenbogen and Americorps member Pastor Ken Bogan about Crown Heights and their experiences here and the history of the neighborhood.

Check out another group of young people doing oral history in Crown Heights in collaboration with the Crow Hill Community Association here: