New York City New Deal Schools - Photo #21 - New Deal Schools in Queens

P.S. 149 in Queens at 93-11 34th Ave, Jackson Heights NY 11372, on the block formed by Northern Boulevard, 34th Avenue, 93rd Street, and 94th Street, March 2018. Photo by Anonymous. The school was built with Federal Public Works Administration grants and loans[1,2] (paying materials and work-relief labor) between 1934 and 1936. The west side of the school on 93rd Street is shown; I believe the lower part at left is a later addition.

"Modern construction in Public School 149, Queens, includes windows running to the ceiling to admit the maximum of light and air, gymnasiums and auditoriums ... Throughout the State and throughout the nation, men have been busy for months building this equipment. In the mines and forests of the West, workmen were recalled to their jobs to produce ore, stone and lumber. Then in the mills and factories of the Middle West more men were busied turning these into steel, cement and lumber. And finally, skilled craftsmen of the East turned out the desks and chairs, tilework, windows shades; the toold for the shops, as intricate lathes and milling machines, and the thousands and one other types of equipment used in training students to cope with the present-day world."[2]

In 1964 the school was a flashpoint in the Civil Rights era, the scene of white backlash, lawsuits, and sitins at the Board of Education's plan to integrate the school, as well as protests by civil rights groups that it was only token integration[3,4]. "For the first time in the history of the modern civil rights movement, white parents in a northern city established a private school to avoid the consequences of a desegregation plan."[7] Although segregated schools had been illegal in New York City since 1920, housing patterns ensured a racially segregated and unequal school system[5]. Of course not all schools fit this pattern; for example DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx had been integrated since at least as far back as 1905[6].

P.S. 149 is currently known as Q149 The Christa Mcauliffe School.

  1. More PWA Funds Granted - $1,418,700 Allotted for 3 Schools and New Wing for Hospital, New York Times, 27 Sep 1934.
  2. PWA School Aid Hailed by Tuttle - $34,500,000 Received by City for Work in Depression Years, New York Times, 26 Jan 1936., Section 2, pages 1 and 8.
  3. City Threatening Arrests in Sit-In at Queens School, New York Times, 7 Oct 1964. The school was not totally segregeted but it was overwhelmingly white. The Board of Ed plan paired it with another school, P.S. 92, only six blocks away that was almost totally Black and Puerto Rican.
  4. Fred Prowledge, Mason Dixon Line in Queens, New York Times, 10 May 1964.
  5. Yasmeen Khan, "Demand for School Integration Leads to Massive 1964 Boycott — In New York City", WNYC, 3 Feb 2016. Commemorating the 52nd anniversary of "the largest civil rights protest in U.S. History".
  6. Gerard J. Pelisson and James A. Garvey III, The Castle on the Parkway — The story of New York City's DeWitt Clinton High School and its Extraordinary Influence on American Life, The Hutch Press (2009, 2012).
  7. Jerald E. Podair, The Strike That Changed New York, Yale University Press (2008), p.29.
  8. Rosedale, The Way It Is, 1975 video, and a June 21, 2020, New York Times article about it. This was a completely different area of Queens, but just as racist as Jackson Heights was.