Constance Sutton and her husband moved to Washington Heights from Chicago in 1954. Both academics from the University of Chicago, Constance found work as a teaching assistant to Margaret Meade at Colombia University, becoming one of the first female members on staff. Disturbed by segregation in America, she talks about becoming an advocate for racial integration in her apartment building. Through her work, Constance remembers meeting many influential members of the African American community including Cicely Tyson, William Mayfield, Malcolm X and Maya Angelou who stayed at her apartment for 6 months while she wrote "When the Caged Bird Sings". Constance goes on to talk about gentrification and the measures that she faced to secure her home. (Summary written by: Nancy Broderick)
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This is a neighborhood oral history project that works to both preserve and document Washington Heights and Inwood history through the stories of people who have experienced it. This project will collect oral histories of people who have lived or worked in the Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods. Over 90 volunteer interviewers have been trained to collect these stories. Interviews will be preserved at The Milstein Division of US History, Local History and Genealogy and available in a circulating collection. Interviews will also be accessible in full length at this website.