Dorie Miller Cooperative Houses

112-24 Northern Boulevard

Built at a time when segregation was widely enforced, the Dorie Miller Co-op was a rare integrated housing development. Originally conceived exclusively for African-American residents, it became “open occupancy” in large part at the urging of Congressman and pastor Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (who presided over the opening ceremonies in 1953). The co-op’s early residents were a mix of African- American, Jewish, Caucasian and interracial families—many coming from Powell’s home neighborhood of Harlem. The complex was named for Doris “Dorie” Miller, a World War II hero and the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross, for his actions at Pearl Harbor (Miller died in action in 1943). Comprising six towers, the development originally housed 301 families. Like the greater Corona-East Elmhurst neighborhood, the co-op attracted a number of famous jazz musicians including saxophonists Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and Jimmy Heath, trumpeters Nat Adderley and Clark Terry, and singers Olga James and Nancy Wilson.