Jennifer J. Raab, Hunter College President, invites you to
a documentary film screening and discussion

Rabble Rousers:
Frances Goldin and the Fight for Cooper Square 

Screening presented in person only & a post-screening panel discussion presented in person and on Zoom


Co-Director/Producer & Chair of Film & Media Studies at Hunter College Kelly Anderson
 Hunter College Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Planning Laura Wolf-Powers

Roosevelt House is pleased to present a screening of the new documentary Rabble Rousers: Frances Goldin and the Fight for Cooper Square, followed bv a discussion with co-director Kelly Anderson and Hunter College Associate Professor of Urban Policy and Planning Laura Wolf-Powers.

In 1959, New York City announced a “slum clearance plan” designed by Robert Moses that housing advocates warned would displace 2,400 working-class and immigrant families as well as dozens of businesses from the Cooper Square section of Manhattan. Guided by the belief that urban renewal should benefit—not displace—residents, a working mother named Frances Goldin and her neighbors formed the Cooper Square Committee (CSC) and launched a campaign to save the neighborhood.

Over the next five decades, they fought politicians, developers, white flight, government abandonment, blight, violence, arson, drugs, and gentrification—cyclical forces that many believe are responsible for the erosion of working class neighborhoods across the country. Through tenacious organizing and hundreds of community meetings, the Cooper Square Committee not only held its ground but also developed a vision of community control.

Rabble Rousers tells the riveting story of a trailblazing housing organizer and her diverse working class neighbors as they take on Robert Moses, the real estate industry, and five mayors to establish the first community land trust in New York City—an oasis of permanently low-income housing in the heart of the “real estate capital of the world.”


Kelly Anderson is the Chair of the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College and a documentary filmmaker whose most recent films are UNSTUCK: an OCD Kids Movie (2017) and My Brooklyn (2012). My Brooklyn, about the hidden forces driving gentrification, won an Audience Award at the Brooklyn Film Festival and was broadcast on PBS’ America ReFramed. Anderson also produced and directed Every Mother’s Son (2004, with Tami Gold), about mothers whose children were killed by police, which won the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award and aired on the PBS series POV. She also produced and directed Out At Work (HBO, 2000, also with Tami Gold), which was screened at Sundance and won a GLAAD Best Documentary award.

Laura Wolf-Powers is an Associate Professor in Hunter’s Department of Urban Policy and Planning. She teaches economic development, introductory real estate development, and community planning. Her research is focused on how individuals working in government, academic institutions, and civil society organizations can repair historical and structural injustice. Her book University City: History, Race, and Community in the Era of the Innovation District was published in 2022 by the University of Pennsylvania Press. She is a steering committee member of the Western Queens Community Land Trust.

Rabble Rousers: Frances Goldin and the Fight for Cooper Square | Posted on April 27th, 2023 | Film Screenings, Public Programs