Mural depicting Carthan at the Magnolia Tree Earth Center in Brooklyn, New York
Originally from Portsmouth, Virginia, Carthan moved to the tree-lined block of Vernon Avenue between Tompkins Ave and Throop Ave in Bedford-Stuyvesant in 1953, but by 1964, only three trees remained. She sent postcards to everyone on her block and formed the T & T Vernon Avenue Block Association, which raised funds to buy and plant trees by throwing block parties. The City of New York supported her efforts: Mayor John Lindsay attended one of the block parties, and the City Parks Department provided trees under its treematching program. Eventually, Carthan would head the Bedford-Stuyvesant Beautification Committee. She oversaw over 100 block associations which planted over 1,500 trees including those of the ginkgo, sycamore, and honeylocust varieties 
Yonnette Fleming is the current Vice President of the Hattie Carthan Community Garden Farm. The farm was created to honor and continue the work of Hattie Carthan. Carthan spearheaded a campaign to save a 40-foot Magnolia grandiflora tree that was thriving far north of its natural habitat, by getting it designated an official city living landmark. She went on to found the Magnolia Tree Earth Center, an educational center.
Carthan was survived by two sons, Reginald Hale of Newark and Malcolm Hale of Brooklyn; two sisters, Lottie Roundtree of Chesapeake, Va., and Alice Carper of Brooklyn; a brother, Dwight Lomax of Brooklyn, and three grandchildren.
- Evans, Olive, "For a 'Tree Lady,' A City's 'Thank you'", "The New York Times", May 20, 1975
- Ferretti, Fred, "Urban Conservation: A One-Woman Effort", "The New York Times," July 8, 1982
- Carthan, Hattie, "Our Pleasure," Letter to "New York Amsterdam News," November 5, 1966
- Ferretti, "Urban Conservation"
- Rule, Sheila, "Hattie Carthan, 83, Proponent of Trees in Brooklyn, Is Dead", "The New York Times," April 28, 1984
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