Andy Battle: “IBM Comes to Brooklyn”

Andy Battle

“IBM Comes to Brooklyn”


Friday, April 25th

‘In his talk, Watson acknowledged a second role for IBM Brooklyn—in addition to manufacturing computer cables, the plant would serve as something of a social experiment. Unlike other plants, IBM Brooklyn was the product of impulses that transcended the simple profit motive. Watson recounted his friendship with the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated in California two weeks before the plant opened in June. Kennedy had a “vision” of what could be done in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Watson explained, and IBM Brooklyn was in some measure the fulfillment of that vision. The company had at first planned to locate in Harlem, but Watson’s friendship with Kennedy had resulted in a post on the board of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Development and Services Corporation, a group of business executives assembled by Kennedy to serve as the “power” half of his new community development corporation for Bedford-Stuyvesant. This association had in turn sealed IBM’s commitment to Brooklyn.’


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