"Let my work speak for me"
Carlos Lezama was born in 1923 in Coro, Venezuela. He grew up in Trinidad but later returned to Venezuela, where was an auto-worker for General Motors and Chrysler, as well as a mechanic in Caracas specializing in dental machinery. After that, he departed for a job as a merchant mariner. It was during his travels as a seaman that he first visited the United States and eventually resolved to move to New York City, which he did--alone--in 1954. He had lived in Manhattan for about two years when he noticed the greater movement of Caribbean people into the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights and followed suit. At some point, his wife and children joined him; they were all congregants at Saint Gregory Catholic Church. He continued to work as a mechanic, taking vocational courses to supplement his training, and after a while was able to buy a home on St. Johns Place. During this time, he became a prominent figure in the cultural life of Crown Heights' West Indian residents. Along with Rufus (Lionel) Gorin, he was a key organizer of the first Carnival parade on Labor Day that went down Eastern Parkway, now commonly called the West Indian Day Parade, in 1969. When Gorin died, Lezama was elected the first president of the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA)--a position to which he was repeatedly reelected until he retired in 2002. Located on Eastern Parkway and now called the West Indian Day Parade, and remained president of the Carnival Association for nearly forty years. He died in 2007.
Since 2000, we have led the effort to bring education to the Caribbean community.
Our Mission is to Educate communities regarding Caribbean heritage via the establishment of an institution devoted to research and development. Promote and preserve West Indian Culture and history through the growth of an archive Center dedicated to the legacy of Carlos Lezama
Develop a Cultural Institution that collects, owns, maintains, preserves, and archives information regarding Caribbean way of life. CLACC-C to make objects and artifacts available to provide additional information benefiting Caribbean people and other non-Caribbean communities
–Preserve Caribbean heritage via collection of archives and Art memorabilia dedicated to Carlos Lezama’s Legacy, the promotion of Caribbean Culture
– Function as a learning and resource center providing information on the historical, social, and diverse cultural dimensions of caribbean life