Horace L. Morancie
June 27, 1929-February 4, 2015
Former Director of Model Cities
And Trinidad & Tobago Expatriate
Brooklyn, NY – EVERYBODY’S “Caribbean” Magazine – H. Hall
Horace L. Morancie, one of the most powerful Black technocrats of the 1960s and 1970s in Brooklyn, NY, died on Tuesday, February 4 after succumbing to the aging process. He was 85 years old and lived in East New York, Brooklyn. He was a naturalized American, patriotic Trinidadian and active Caribbean-American.
During the civil rights movement of the 1960s white liberal political leaders in New York City sought to place qualified Blacks in high profile administrative positions. Mr. Morancie met the criteria both academically and politically. He was educated at Brooklyn Polytechnic University, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government, Cornell University and Brooklyn Law School.
At that time Morancie was a Republican. Liberal-Republican Mayor John Lindsay appointed him to lead Model Cities Program in Brooklyn.
Model Cities (of which Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Center on Fulton Street is an example) was part of President Lyndon Johnson War on Poverty Program.
From his office at Restoration Center on Fulton Street, Mr. Morancie had the responsibilities of developing Central Brooklyn such as creating jobs, housing projects, social services, sports and culture.
The construction of the large housing complex at Nostrand Ave. and President Street in Crown Heights was one of Morancie’ initiatives.
During his tenure as Director of Model Cities, the brilliant Morancie was considered by Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams PNM Government in T&T as an expatriate who should return to contribute in nation building.
As a diehard calypso and steelpan fan, Morancie brought one of Trinidad & Tobago’s major steelband orchestras in the late 1960s to perform at Radio City Music Hall.
Mr. Morancie later led a controversial campaign to move the growing Brooklyn Carnival to Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, where major parades are held.
The attempt brought a deep rift between Morancie and Carlos Lezama. Lezama had recently taken over the carnival organization from Rufus Goring who introduced the West Indian style carnival in Brooklyn. Goring was arrested for staging Brooklyn’s first West Indian carnival in the borough because he did not have a permit.
So damaging was the rift between Lezama and Morancie, Morancie organized his panorama competitions on carnival weekend. One year in the early 1970s he got a permit to stage carnival on Utica Avenue during the same time period that the Lezama-led Labor Day Carnival was held on Eastern Parkway.
The wound between Morancie and Lezama was healed. Morancie was moved when his old warrior and former rival died.
Mr. Morancie ran for Congress as a Republican against Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm but he later became a Democrat.
The night of the birth of Trinidad & Tobago, August 31, 1962, Morancie had an all night celebration at his home. He was an active member in organizing the first independence balls of both Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Syd Joe, a Grenadian, who led the leading Caribbean band in New York, Syd Joe & His Caribbean Orchestra in 1962, played at the Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago Independence Balls.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in 2012, EVERYBODY’S, the Caribbean-American magazine, honored Mr. Morancie for “his immense contributions in promoting the nation of Trinidad and Tobago abroad, 1962-2012.”
Mr. Morancie is survived by his wife, Gloria; his former wife Yvonne, children from that marriage, Michelle Morancie, PhD, Neal and Craig and several grandchildren.
PERSONAL NOTE: Although, I was aware of Mr. Morancie’s ill health, I am very saddened by his passing. He was a dedicated subscriber of EVERYBODY’S Magazine, my big supporter and motivator when I organized cultural events such as the World Calypso and Soca Monarchs in the 1990s, bringing the world famous Invaders Steel Orchestra from T&T for a two-week tour of NY, NJ and MA in 2000, and when in 2012 I accepted Dawad Phillips challenge to organize Brooklyn Calypso Tent during the week of Brooklyn Carnival.
–— Herman Hall, Publisher; producer of Brooklyn Mother’s Day Saturday Concert at Brooklyn Center and Oliver Samuels plays from MA and CT to Washington, DC