Skip to main content

Barbara Johns

@ Weeksville Heritage Center

Kaitlyn Greenidge, Michael Premo, Barbara Johns


Longtime Brooklyn resident. Grew up in Weeksville neighborhood. Barbara Ann Johns was born in Brooklyn in 1937. She lived on Pacific Street and St. John’s Place as a child. She recalls the neighborhood as diverse and idyllic: her house had a garden where they grew sunflowers, cherries, grapes and vegetables. She recalls taking dance lessons at Bill Robinson Dance Studio on Fulton Street, where Boys and Girls High School is now located. Barbara’s mother came to Brooklyn from Virginia when she was in her mid-twenties. She stayed with relatives in the Weeksville area, and met Barbara’s father because his garage was next-door to her house: he was a mechanical engineer. They had two children, Barbara and her brother. They were together until Barbara was 5 or 6 years old, when Barbara’s father died. Her mother met Barbara’s “second father” shortly thereafter, who stayed with the family for the next 40 years. Barbara’s mother worked alternately as a factory worker, a civil servant and a medical worker. Barbara remembers that her mother worked her way up to her own office before she retired. When she was 10, Barbara and her family moved to the Kingsborough Houses. She describes the adjustment as very difficult: she had been used to the space and garden in her old house, and did not like playing in the public parks in Kingsborough. Another adjustment was to the Houses’ management’s rules. Barbara remembers that when she was young, single people were not allowed to live in the...
Oral History Wav
Kaitlyn Greenidge, Michael Premo, Barbara Johns, Meron Tebeje
Created Date:
1937 2007
View Original At:

Record Contributed By

Weeksville Heritage Center