Mourning the death of Elsie E. Richardson, distinguished citizen and devoted member of her community

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  • 12 / Mar / 2013
  • 14 / Mar / 2013
  • 14 / Mar / 2013

Resolution Details

Law Section:
Resolutions, Legislative



LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the death of Elsie E. Richardson,
distinguished citizen and devoted member of her community

WHEREAS, It is the custom of this Legislative Body to pay tribute to
citizens of the State of New York whose lifework and civic endeavor
served to enhance the quality of life in their communities and the great
State of New York; and
WHEREAS, Elsie Richardson died on March 15, 2012, at the age of 90;
WHEREAS, Elsie Richardson distinguished herself in her profession and
by her sincere dedication and substantial contribution to the welfare of
her community; and
WHEREAS, Elsie Eugenia Richardson was born on February 24, 1922, at
208 West 62nd Street (behind Lincoln Center); she was the fourth child
of George and Albertha Maynard, who arrived in America from the Caribbe-
an island of Nevis, British West Indies in 1911; and
WHEREAS, Elsie Richardson, a 1938 graduate of Washington Irving High
School, earned a diploma in secretarial studies; since people of color
were not employed as secretaries in those days, she worked in factories
and as a nanny; it was President Roosevelt's National Youth Adminis-
tration (NYA) and Simon N. Hillman (an African-American attorney who
shared office space with A. Philip Randolph) who gave her an opportunity
to use her secretarial skills; and
WHEREAS, Elsie Richardson then answered the call from Washington, D.C.
for secretaries and relocated there during World War II; while in Wash-
ington, D.C., she enlisted the help of then Senators Meade and Wagner
from New York, to open the door for secretaries of color; upon her
return to New York, Elsie Richardson was employed to become the first
African-American secretary at the New York State Labor Relations Board;
WHEREAS, Elsie Richardson later earned her bachelor's degree at Pratt
Institute in 1972, and her master's degree at the New School for Social
Research in 1979; and
WHEREAS, Elsie Richardson and her husband, Victor, were among the
first families to move into Brooklyn's Albany Houses; she played a lead-
ership role in the Tenants Association, which is credited with the
existence of the St. John's Recreation Center, Crown Heights Health
Center and PS 243; and
WHEREAS, A co-founder of the Central Brooklyn Coordinating Council
(1952), Elsie Richardson served as its Board Secretary and Chair of its
Urban Planning Committee; the commitment of that group led to the forma-
tion of the Pratt Center For Community Development, Central Brooklyn
Model Cities, Medgar Evers College, the New Boys and Girls HS., among
other organizations, and prevented the planned destruction of the commu-
nity's brownstones; and
WHEREAS, Elsie Richardson had accompanied Senator Robert F. Kennedy on
that much publicized walk through Bedford Stuyvesant (1966) and chaired
the committee formed at his request, which led to the founding of the
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation; she, having been one of the
founders of The Weeksville Society, selected the site where artifacts
revealing the existence of "Weeksville" were discovered during the demo-
lition process for new housing; as Education/Public Relations Coordina-
tor for the Model Cities Program, and later as
Teacher-Assigned/School-Community Coordinator for District 16, she kept
the community aware of employment, housing, educational and cultural
opportunities; and

WHEREAS, A true asset to society, Elsie Richardson was secretary of
the 1300 Prospect Place Block Association, a member of the Parks Commit-
tee of Board 8, and Vice President of the New York City Association of
Retired Teachers; and
WHEREAS, Elsie Richardson's commitment to excellence, and her spirit
of humanity, carried over into all fields of enterprise, including char-
itable and civic endeavors; and
WHEREAS, Predeceased by her husband, Victor, and sons, Raymond and
George, Elsie Richardson is survived by her daughter, Sabra, granddaugh-
ters, Celeste and Lisa, great-grandsons, Xavier and Lawrence, Jr., and a
host of other friends, family, and neighbors; and
WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of
compassion, Elsie Richardson leaves behind a legacy which will long
endure the passage of time and will remain as a comforting memory to all
she served and befriended; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to
mourn the death of Elsie E. Richardson, distinguished citizen and
devoted member of her community; and be it further
RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be tran-
smitted to the family of Elsie E. Richardson.


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