Skip to main content

Bernice Jenkins

@ Weeksville Heritage Center

Bernice Jenkins, Dolores McCullough


Connection to Weeksville: Bernice Jenkins lived in 1698 Bergen Street, one of the Hunterfly Road Houses Mary Bernice (Williams) Jenkins was born on February 6th, 1921 at 216 Buffalo Avenue. She is the daughter of Mary and David Williams, who were the owners of 1698 Bergen Street from 1928 through 1968. In 1941, after her marriage, Bernice Jenkins moved to the Kingsborough Houses, where she lived until 1952. Bernice recalls that it was difficult for her husband to find a defense job: he tried to find work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, eventually working at a plant in Connecticut, before returning to Brooklyn during WWII. . She recalls that when Kingsborough was first built, it was segregated. According to Bernice, there were “1166 families and 10%” were African-American, a quota that was reserved until after WWII. She recalls that before the Kingsborough Houses were built, there were a string of apartment buildings across the street called the Tin Flat Houses. Growing up, she remembers the neighborhood as being mixed, with mostly German, Italian, Irish and Jewish neighbors. Both of Bernice’s parents were born in Brooklyn: her father was born in Downtown Brooklyn while her mother was born near Park and Sterling Places. Bernice’s maternal grandfather, Eli Howard, owned a house where Lincoln Terrace Park is currently located. Eli Howard was originally from Virginia, and Bernice reports that he was African-American, Native American and Caucasian. Bernice recalls that her mother’s grandfather, her own maternal great-grandfather, was Native American and lived near...
Oral History Wav
Bernice Jenkins, Dolores McCullough, Meron Tebeje
Created Date:
1920 2006
View Original At:

Record Contributed By

Weeksville Heritage Center