Nancy Kearse Gooding, a Red Hook Leader

Visitation Place in Red Hook, Brooklyn, was co-named Nancy Kearse Gooding Way on December 10, 2023.

Red Hook in the 1970s was going through tough times.

Longshoremen strikes idled many, and industries that depended on shipping then laid off workers. There was a lot of resentment in the neighborhood.

Fred Ferretti, in a vividly written 1971 New York Times article “Neglected Red Hook Takes On the City,” reported on shuttered storefronts, mounds of garbage and growing racial friction and said the resentments included:

  • that “the city periodically considers Red Hook for such projects as truck‐weighing stations and sewage treatment plants.”
  • that “the city talks of modernizing the Red Hook waterfront but talks not at all about community rehabilitation.”
  • that Red Hook was “picked as the locale for a controversial welfare pilot program. Under this system some payments are withheld and 'earned' by welfare recipients whose children have good school attendance records and whose homes are available for inspection by welfare caseworkers.”

A key person standing up for Red Hook, cited in the article, was a Black woman, Nancy Kearse Gooding. In 1971, she was the Democratic co‐leader of the 52d Assembly District and chairman of the welfare group and leader of the Welfare Recipients Action Group.

The street now named for her is near a row of federally subsidized town houses on Visitation Place which she help make happen.

Gooding died young; but as her granddaughter Dashana Gooding proudly put it, it was not her birth and death dates that were important but the “dash” in between them where Nancy demonstrated strong, effective commitment to her community.

To revive the memory of her grandmother and tell the story of her impact, Dashana Gooding  established the Nancy Kearse Gooding awards that acknowledge the hard work other have done and are doing for the Red Hook community. 

The first recipients on that rainy naming ceremony day were:

Vee Willis
Betty Bernhart
Roland Knight
Karen Dawn Blondel
Rodney Aviles
Maureen Harrington
Nadine Bilgore
Saime Yigit
Nurse Carol Fortune
Carina Vizhnay
Hometown BBQ Mitchell Rosen
Carolina Salguero
Andre of New Leader Hoops
Edwin Pacheco, Jr
Melinda Cruz-Pacheco
Alexa Aviles
Jacqui Painter
Pete Eikenberry
Tiffiney Davis

PortSide is very honored that our founder and Executive Director Carolina Salguero received one of these awards.

Facebook post of the naming ceremony, December 12, 2023



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