Vernon and David discuss his recently published article, “Thurgood Marshall, From Cooperative Apartment to Supreme Court,” and his life work in the cooperative movement. During February, Everything Co-op celebrates Black History Month by focusing on the Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s Theme. This year’s theme isThe Crisis in Black Education. Therefore, it is quite fitting to bring David Thompson to the microphone again, for a discussion about his article on Thurgood Marshall, and his upcoming book, Cooperatives and the Civil Rights Movement.An excerpt from Cooperatives and the Civil Rights Movement.
At the epi-center of the cooperative movement in Harlem was a housing cooperative called the Dunbar Apartments. Filling an entire city block, this 511-unit housing cooperative was funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. as the first black housing cooperative in the country. When it opened in 1928, on the eve of the Great Depression, the Dunbar was the first home ownership opportunity for blacks in New York City. If the members paid the carrying charges for 22 years, they would own the apartment outright.Those who lived at the Dunbar were a virtual Who’s Who of Black America:Countee Cullen, W.E.B. DuBois, Mathew Henson, Langston Hughes, A. Philip Randolph,Paul Robeson, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and others.
David Thompson, has worked for national cooperative organizations of the United States, Britain and Japan as well as the United Nations. He served as Vice President of the NationalCooperative Business Association and Regional Director of the National Cooperative Bank’sWestern Office. He specializes in funding the capital needs of the cooperative development sector and nonprofit and cooperative housing. He was inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame in Washington D.C. in May 2010, and continues to work with cooperatives.