African American Studies


Interviewee: Lucy Dacosta

Interviewer: Dr. Mark Naison and Oneka LaBennett

Date of Interview: August 23, 2007

Summarized by Alice Stryker

Lucy was born in the South Bronx in 1967. Her paternal grandparents were from Jamaica and her grandmother was the matriarch of the family. Jamaican culture was very much a part of her upbringing. Her father worked for the Housing Authority.

She attended P.S. 28 for kindergarten and then transferred to St. Margaret Mary for several years. She enjoyed going to school there very much. She played with many of the kids of her neighborhood as well as with her cousins. She had a very safe neighborhood, in spite of the crime happening in the area in the 1970’s. After second grade, the family moved more uptown and left St. Margaret’s.

Music played a big role in her family. She and all her cousins had to take piano. Her older sister was an artist, playing guitar, singing, and dancing. Her parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were always singing.

When she was 8, the family moved to the Northwest Bronx. She loved the neighborhood, but was one of the few families from the Caribbean. One of the benefits of the neighborhood was the block association they had, called Brunell Association. Most of the other African American families were from the south. She attended Cardinal Spellman. All of the children played together regardless of their ethnic heritage. Parents of all ethnicities, likewise, looked after all of the children and informed their parents if a child did something wrong.

One of her memories was going to the different parks and watching people experiment with hip hop. She, along with her siblings and cousins, became immersed in hip-hop culture, altering their style and listening to early artists. They would also go to parties thrown by Africa Bombata and friends. They would watch DJ battles and break-dancers as well. Her mother was a little more protective of the girls than she was of the boys, but they all went to parties at the different projects. There were other forms of music she remembers, but hip-hop is holds the most predominant spot in her memory.

After she graduated high school, she went to SUNY Albany for two years. However, she did not like it because it was very cold and she came home a lot to see her friends and go to parties. At this time, she was listening to a lot of house music. She transferred to New York Institute of Technology. After working as a Housing Assistant for 3 years, she decided that she wanted to go to Law School.

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