Brooklyn, N.Y., has been renowned for its churches, Coney Island beach and boardwalk, loveable baseball bums ( the Dodgers), historic Navy yard and world-famous suspension bridge.
In IBM, Brooklyn has also been known for a pioneering company effort to create and provide manufacturing jobs in an economically depressed inner-city community of nearly half a million people (nearly the size of Minneapolis), most of whom were minorities.
On April 17, 1968, IBM announced that it would open a manufacturing facility in a leased building at Gates and Nostrand Avenues in the borough's Bedford-Stuyvesant area. IBM Chairman Thomas J. Watson, Jr., said at the time:
Establishing a new manufacturing activity is always a milestone for our company. This is all the more meaningful in the case of Bedford-Stuyvesant, where the requirement for new job opportunities is so acute. We will do our best to be responsive to the needs of the area and look forward to being part of the community.
Watson had decided that IBM needed to go beyond the government aid programs of the 1960s that had made possible corporate sponsorship of such projects as Job Corps Centers. He selected "Bed-Sty" because it had not received much attention from private business and because, two years earlier, the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy had asked Watson to serve on the Board of Directors of the newly-formed Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Service Corporation -- a combined public/private effort to rehabilitate the area.
The IBM Systems Manufacturing Div. plant at Gates and Nostrand Avenues, Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1968.