My hometown St. Albans, located in Southeast Queens, NY, is a predominantly African-American and Caribbean-American middle-class neighborhood. During the late 1930's, St. Albans was one of the few places in New York City where Black Americans could pursue the dream of homeownership and become business owners. Locals recognize this community for its pride, strength, and unity built through those early beginnings; along with the unforgettable presence of notable Black entertainers and athletes. James Brown, John Coltrane, Count Basie, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Milt Hinton, Ella Fitzgerald and Jackie Robinson are only a few of the famed names to call St. Albans home at some point in their life.
In 2008, St. Albans and other Southeast Queens communities would become the heart of mortgage fraud due to the housing crisis. While some of St. Albans’ beloved people have simply passed away, degrading home values and subprime mortgages caused many to move south for a better life or lose their homes. Nearly a decade after the crisis, its effects still linger. Nonetheless, the memorable qualities of St. Albans can still be found. Through portraiture, still-life, and landscape, "St. Albans" highlights the richness of an underrepresented community, and class of Black Americans, through lingering effects of economic downturn.