Rev. Linnette C. Williamson
Our organization was named to honor the enduring legacy of the late Rev. Linnette C. Williamson (1923 - 1990), an African-American woman whose commitment to the Central Harlem community has served as a source of hope and inspiration to its people since the 1960s.
A native of Jamaica, Rev. Williamson was ordained in 1956. Known to the community as “Rev”, she provided countless services during her long ministry at The Christ Community Church of Harlem, including day camps for children, a remedial reading program, a youth center, day care for working mothers, a Head Start program, a soup kitchen and a food pantry. As a Harlem community leader in 1965, she worked with many civic-minded people in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, to create the first vest-pocket park in NYC and the United States at 65 West 128th Street. Her efforts also led to the creation of several other small parks on 128th Street in the same year.
Rev was also a co-founder of the New York Council of Smaller Churches, a nonprofit social services agency created to alleviate the plight of the homeless, substance abusers, and the uncared-for in the Central Harlem community. She never tired of reaching out to the helpless, but also sought to assist those who could, and wanted to, help themselves.
By her great inner strength, spirit and resolve, Rev. Williamson led the way in founding many neighborhood programs to address the basic human needs of her community. Our organization, and the vest-pocket park and garden named after her, are a memorial to her dedication, hard work and vision. The Park Association has made great strides in its role as an inner-city land trust. Our commitment to sound and decisive action is exemplified by Rev. Williamson as we continue to strive tirelessly toward the realization of our vision for Central Harlem’s future.