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The original item was published from 3/10/2022 1:02:02 PM to 4/3/2022 12:00:01 AM.

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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: March 10, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Diana Bason recalls being only African American student in White Plains

An interesting story- part of our African Diaspora Experience: Living Narratives of Greenburgh residents

Diana Bason, longtime Greenburgh resident, recounts to Tina Harper of the Dept. of Community Resources, how she was the only black student in her school for most of her years growing up in White Plains. Find this and other fascinating interviews and stories in our new town series The African Diaspora Experience: Living Narratives of Greenburgh Residents


Diana’s grandmother and siblings had moved to White Plains from South Carolina. Since they grew up working on a farm, they were all illiterate. Diana recalls trying to teach her grandmother to write and write when she was 8. “It was difficult. But she could count!” At 8, Diana also started babysitting a family in the neighborhood so she could send $1 or $2 a month to family down south who picked cotton. Despite being raised on a street that had a few long blocks of mostly black people, Diana found herself to be the only black girl in her schools most of her way through. She was used to Southern food – leftovers of fish and chicken for breakfast, hominy grits – so she had never tried the tomato juice and spinach her nursery school introduced her to, and she was punished for not liking the spinach. For a few years she moved and went to school in Greenburgh where “it was culture shock, everyone was black!” Diana was very industrious and always earned money. Soon with her sewing skills, she found work work in a White Plains factory making belts. 


Hear the rest of her life struggles and successes in the full interview


And we invite you to read and watch other stories we’re collecting from Greenburgh residents in a new archive here:


Have a story of your family’s struggles and accomplishments overcoming racism in Greenburgh? Please share by emailing or, including a photo or more if you have any.

These living history stories will be appreciated by students for generations to come.

Greenburgh Town Supervisor

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