Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
At the intersection of culture, history and socioeconomic consciousness stands a six foot, five inched Brooklyn born and bred black man named Samuel Eric Blackwell. An educator, urbanist, community activist, writer, tastemaker, and purveyor of all things fresh, fly and ultra, Blackwell unapologetically amalgamates his experiences to make room for himself.
The product of parents, who like so many other African Americans, made their migration from the south to the north. Brooklyn and more specifically Fort Greene would become their home. Blackwell remains in Fort Greene to this day and is one of the few residents born in the community that has seen unprecedented gentrification.To that end Blackwell has leveraged his experience as a product of both public housing and public education and under the tutelage of the late Amiri Baraka, studied and received his B.A. in African American Studies from Stony Brook University and his M.A. in Urban Studies and Planning from Long Island University where he is adjunct professor of Urban Studies.To his credit Blackwell is the founder of the publications the Fort Greene News and The African American Journal on Health and Education as well as his own personal blog Fort Greene First.
Blackwell’s roots in Fort Greene have afforded him the opportunity to bear witness to the renaissance of his community in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. His personal space has served as the backdrop for the artistic bohemian culture of Fort Greene. Blackwell has opened his personal space for parties, fundraisers, social dinners and simply provided a space for idea cultivation. It was also during these energy exchanges that a unique tradition was birthed. Over a 15 year period, various visitors to the Blackwell abode tagged the doors with lines of prose, poetry or parting words of wisdom. A tradition that initially began as a jovial act of capturing the sentiment of the day or night soon metamorphosed into something more cerebral and spiritual. Blackwell expounds, “We spoke to the doors and now the door speaks to our soul.” These inscriptions would eventually be edited and are now being compiled for publishing in a collection of work entitled “Love, Politics & Proverbs.” It is not happenstance that S. Eric Blackwell is still a resident of Fort Greene. His journey is purposed with a calling to preserve culture through various mediums and to reach the people where they are because he remains unapologetically rooted.