Marilyn Gittell Digital Archive

Kimberly Belmonte, Critical Social Personality Psychology
Faculty Advisor: Deborah Tolman
Project Website: Marilyn Gittell Digital Archive

World Journal Tribune, January 12, 1967

Marilyn Jacobs Gittell (1931–2010), was an NYC scholar-activist fiercely committed to racial, gender, and educational justice, and especially known for her dedication to public school reform and community control. Joining with the black resistance movements of the 1960s, this work was epitomized by the “Ocean-Hill Brownsville controversy” – a Brooklyn-based social experiment that moved control of schools to the communities of black and Puerto Rican urban poor whom they served.

The Digital Archive project began with a small group of doctoral students in Critical Social/Personality Psychology at the Graduate Center charged with the privilege of constructing Marilyn’s archives. We were working through 250 boxes of materials from Marilyn’s life, as well as collecting both official records and everyday details “beyond the storage unit,” to create two, intersecting, participatory exhibitions – one digital, and one material – that honor Marilyn’s work as it speaks with/in the collective struggles and radical potentials of education in NYC – past and present.

The Marilyn Gittell Digital Archive. The digital archive will honor of Marilyn Gittell’s contributions to the public school reform and community control movements of the 1960s, focusing on her scholarship about the people, politics and possibilities of educational justice in New York City. Using OMEKA, I am constructing a website which will serve as a resource for Marilyn Gittell’s scholarship on participation in education as well as her life and work more broadly. It is being constructed from digitized materials in Marilyn’s files that are related to her work as a scholar-activist. The site will include Marilyn’s publications, original newspaper articles from the 1960- 1990s, personal documents and links to ongoing activist-scholarship around the Ocean-Hill Brownsville; short testimonies by those who knew Gittell and other useful resources, including an interactive timeline of events at Ocean-hill Brownsville, to be created with Timeline.

Additional links:

NYT Obituary

The Public Science Project,