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Full-Text Articles in African American Studies

Willie Thomas, African And African American Studies Department Fordham University Jan 2018

Willie Thomas, African And African American Studies Department Fordham University

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Willie Thomas

Interviewer: Mark Naison, Lisa Betty, Sarah Cavanagh

Date of Interview: March 9, 2018

Summary by Katie DeFonzo

Harlem native Willie Thomas (b. 1954) grew up in a neighborhood that he considered to be close-knit despite the rapid changes that were transforming New York City at the time. Convicted of an A1 felony at a young age, Thomas became determined to make the most of his situation and to share with others the lessons learned during his time in prison. He has since dedicated his life to working with local organizations that provide young people with the educational ...


William Parker, African And African American Studies Department Fordham University Jan 2018

William Parker, African And African American Studies Department Fordham University

Oral Histories

Interview: William Parker

Interviewer: Mark Naison

Date of Interview: December 8, 2018

Summary by Bailey Barnett

William Parker was born in the Bronx in 1952. As a child, Parker had the opportunity to play several different instruments before ultimately settling on the bass. Parker not only discusses some of the teachers who influenced him but also explains what he believes distinguished people who were truly "from the Bronx." He spent many years working various odd jobs until, during the 1980s, he was able to support himself by traveling and sharing his music with others. The belief that music has the ...


Charlotte Manus And Paul Himmelstein, African And African American Studies Department Fordham University Jan 2017

Charlotte Manus And Paul Himmelstein, African And African American Studies Department Fordham University

Oral Histories

Interview: Charlotte Manus, Paul Himmelstein

Interviewer: Mark Naison

Date of Interview: November 17, 2017

Summary by Alison Rini

Charlotte Manus moved from Harlem to the Prospect Avenue neighborhood of the Bronx at an early age. She recalls the pressure that she and other neighborhood children felt to establish a "reputation" for themselves by fighting and also touches upon the jazz and other kinds of street music that influenced her as a child. Ms. Manus discusses which areas of the Bronx were considered dangerous during her adolescence as well as some of the typical ways in which she and other young ...


Darney "K-Born" Rivers, African And African American Studies Department Black, Phil. Oct 2016

Darney "K-Born" Rivers, African And African American Studies Department Black, Phil.

Oral Histories

Interviewer: Mark Naison, Lisa Betty

Interviewee: Darney “K-Born” Rivers, Rodney Morris

Summarized by: Sarah Cavanagh

Darney “K-Born” Rivers is a legendary Bronx rapper and community organizer. He was born in the Bronx in 1970 and lived on Grant avenue and then Morris avenue near 169th street. Living on Grant avenue in the early 1970s, Rivers describes the fires that became a common sight in the area. The Grant avenue neighborhood became so dangerous that he had to live with relatives in Queens for some time. Rivers and his family moved to the Fordham road area of the Bronx in 1978 ...


Nathaniel, James., African & African American Studies Department. James Nathaniel Feb 2016

Nathaniel, James., African & African American Studies Department. James Nathaniel

Oral Histories

When Jim was 14 his family moved to the Bronx from Brooklyn. The family found the Bronx through the New York City Housing Authority and moved to the Eastchester Projects. The development had been around for some time, but there were very few black families living in the building. His parents saw the move as a step up in the world. They had 8 children and the Eastchester projects provided them with more space for their family. When the Nathaniels moved, Jim’s father worked as a stevedore in a market in lower Manhattan. Jim quickly made friends because of ...


Turner, Joel, African & African American Studies Department. Joel Turner Feb 2016

Turner, Joel, African & African American Studies Department. Joel Turner

Oral Histories

Joel Turner is an IBM executive who grew up in the Patterson Houses from 1950 until 1972. During his life, he witnessed many of the major social changes in the Bronx and can also attest to having achieved success in the business world. Additionally, Turner has Jewish ancestry on his mother’s side, and spoke about his experience as an African-American Jew.

As a child, Turner attended elementary school at a Yeshiva at 170th Street and Morris Avenue. Although he said that the education he received was better than what he would have received at a public school, he ...


Tucker, Ed, African & African American Studies Department Ed Tucker Feb 2016

Tucker, Ed, African & African American Studies Department Ed Tucker

Oral Histories

Ed Tucker’s family moved to New York shortly after WWII, his father was a veteran. Ed was born inMorrisaniaHospitalin 1943 and the family lived onProspect Avenue. His father was a cab driver, for the most part. John Mcgilcrest’s family, both sides from Jamaica, moved to New York after WWI. His father worked at a fragrance factory and was part of the Teamsters. Ron Nelson’s family moved to the Bronx during WWII fromHarlem.

The neighborhood Nelso lived in was mostly Jewish, whereas John and Ed were growing up in a neighborhood that was mostly Africa-American. All of them ...


Hodge, Ray, African & African American Studies Department Ray Hodge Feb 2016

Hodge, Ray, African & African American Studies Department Ray Hodge

Oral Histories

Ray Hodge’s family came to the Bronx in 1947 to Prospect Avenue. His parents came to the Bronx from St. Croix. The family was one of the first to move into the Patterson Houses in 1950. They moved into the side of Building 291 on East 143rd street, facing PS 18. Many families viewed moving into these new housing projects as moving up in the world. There was a real sense of community; everyone kept the building it clean and looked out for all the children.

He attended PS 18 and had a good experience there. He says ...


Braithwaite, John, Bronx African American History Project Dec 2015

Braithwaite, John, Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Summarized by Concetta Gleason

John Braithwaite moved with his family fromManhattaninto theBronxontoKelly Streetin 1945 when he was two years old. His parents learned of theBronxandKelly Streetfrom their friends. Braithwaite’s parents and many of his neighbors were fromBarbados. The neighborhood and schools were very diverse with Italians, Jews, Spanish and blacks (both from the South and the Caribbean), and that did not change until the Cross-Bronx Expressway divided theBronxin half. The family was associated with St. Margaret’s Protestant Episcopal Church. His family has a great love for the arts; his father was a tailor, but painting was his passion ...


Fortune, Monique, Bronx African American History Project Dec 2015

Fortune, Monique, Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

ISummarized By: Eddie Mikus

Monique Fortune was a Professor of Communications at Fordham University who also works for WFUV. She provided some insight to the Bronx African American History Project about the development of the borough’s musical culture. Fortune also spoke about how Bronx musicians gained national prominence through groups like the Chantels.

Fortune stated that musical genres such as doo-wop and hip-hop had their origins in the 1940s when musicians started to emphasize harmony over melody. She stated that this development led to the formation of doo-wop. Fortune also stated that buildings such as churches and Police Athletic ...


Rivieccio, Anthony, African & African American Studies Department. Anthony Rivieccio Dec 2015

Rivieccio, Anthony, African & African American Studies Department. Anthony Rivieccio

Oral Histories

Born in 1960, Anthony Rivieccio moved to the Morris Heights section of the Bronx after his parents divorce with his mother and two sisters at twelve years old. Rivieccio recalls the racial tensions that developed in the South Bronx as the demographics changed leading to gangs. Rivieccio himself joined the gang The Devil’s Disciples. During the time he lived in the Bronx, Rivieccio remembers Fordham Road as an area of entertainment including arcades and movie houses, as well as a department store he would reluctantly visit with his mother on Saturday mornings.

As the fires moved closer to his ...


Sprouse, Mario, African & African American Studies Department. Mario Sprouse Nov 2015

Sprouse, Mario, African & African American Studies Department. Mario Sprouse

Oral Histories

Mario Sprouse, born October 10th, 1948 in Spanish Harlem, is a well-known musician,arranger, composer, and musical director. His parents immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1929, and would meet in Harlem and begin their family after the war.

His parents worked hard to provide for their children, but always had a passion for music, which they would instill upon Mario and his siblings. After moving to the Bronx in 1950, the family would begin living on Ritter Place, where each household showcased musical ability, and stars such as Maxine Sullivan, lived just down the ...


Morgan, Joan, Bronx African American History Project Nov 2015

Morgan, Joan, Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Joan Morgan is the author of “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost’, activist, and doctoral student. She is of Jamaican descent. Her parents came to the United States and settled in the Bronx near Crotona Park. Her father was one of the founding members of the Jamaican Labor party; she calls the Bustamante's her “godparents.” He was also a member of the Jamaica Freedom League while in the Bronx.

While living on Fulton Avenue, Joan used to frequently go to Crotona Park because of the community center right by it, the Clermont Center. Her mother was an active member ...


Driskell, Dana, Driskell, Dana. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Driskell, Dana, Driskell, Dana. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Dana Driskell

Interviewers: Mark Naison, Mark Smith

Transcribed By: Colleen McCafferty

Summarized By: Eddie Mikus

Dana Driskell is a former student at Fordham University who has since worked for the New York City planning commission. He told the Bronx African-American History Project about some of the social changes that have occurred in the Bronx during his life, as well as his time at Fordham University.

Driskell said that his father worked as a sheet metal worker who often worked in construction. Although Driskell’s father belonged to a union, he said that his father often experienced discrimination that was ...


Hayes, Christopher, Hayes, Christopher. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Hayes, Christopher, Hayes, Christopher. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Christopher Hayes was born in February of 1789. He is a journalist whose work deals with those living in the Bronx and the economic challenges that face them. Hayes grew up in the Bronx to a Jesuit father and a first generation Italian mother. His father traveled and worked in Peru and at the University of Detroit before settling down at Fordham. His father was also a community organizer. His mother grew up in the Bronx, near the Fordham rose hill campus. She attended Lehman College. It is here where his mother and father met one another, sparked a friendship ...


Bailey, Helen, Bailey, Helen. Bronxafrican American History Project Oct 2015

Bailey, Helen, Bailey, Helen. Bronxafrican American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewer: Mark Naison

Interviewee: Helen Gordon Bailey

Summarized By: Eddie Mikus

Helen Gordon Bailey is an attorney who had spent much of her life in the Bronx. As such, she has served witness to many of the developments that occurred in Bronx communities over the last few decades.

Bailey lived 854East 67th Street before moving to Morrisania during the 1930s . She was the daughter of two Jamaican immigrant parents, although he neighborhood was mostly Jewish at the time she lived there. As a child, Bailey attended Saint Anthony of Padua for first and second grade and PS 42 for ...


Thome, Marie, Thome, Marie. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Thome, Marie, Thome, Marie. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Marie Tome

Interviewer: Dr. Mark Naison

Summarized by: Daniel Matthews

Reverend Marie Tome is the minister of Bright Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Church is located on 812 Thale Street in the Bronx. In 1932 Tome moved from South Carolina to live with her grandmother in the Bronx. She left South Carolina for fear of lynchings and segregation. Her grandmother made a living doing domestic work, often waiting on street corners for families to hire her. This practice was known as the Bronx Slave Market for the low wages and the phenomenon of black workers lined up on ...


Belton, Frank Interview 1, Belton, Frank. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Belton, Frank Interview 1, Belton, Frank. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Frank Belton was raised in the Morrisania neighborhood of the South Bronx from the time that he was 9 years old. He was born in Harlem, then later his family moved around a bit before settling in a home on Chisholm Street in 1948. Although he had lived in the city when he was younger, he had his first experiences with Puerto Ricans when he moved to the South Bronx. Chisholm Street had a fairly mixed population, but his schools were mostly made up of Puerto Ricans. He says that this mixing of racial backgrounds did not affect relationships between ...


Belton, Frank Interview 2, Belton, Frank. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Belton, Frank Interview 2, Belton, Frank. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Frank Belton was raised in the Morrisania neighborhood of the South Bronx for most of his life. He left in January of 1960 to attend Morgan State College, now Morgan State University, and returned to the South Bronx after receiving his degree in June of 1965. In the first interview session Frank discussed growing up in the Morrisania neighborhood. In this session he talks about his return to the South Bronx and the changes that he noticed.

When Frank returned from Morgan State, he moved only a few blocks from his parents home on Chisholm Street, to Teller Ave and ...


Lewis, Doreen, Lewis, Doreen. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Lewis, Doreen, Lewis, Doreen. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Doreen Lewis

Interviewer: Mark Naison

Summarized by Alice Stryker

Both of Doreen’s parents came from the south, her mother from Virginia and her father from North Carolina. Her father is Cherokee Indian and met her mother in Virginia. When he returned from WWII, her parents moved to the Bronx. She discusses the way her father identified himself, whether it was as a Native American or as a light-skinned black. She claims his identity shifted from one to the other as he got older. Her father worked for Swift and Company, who were involved with the meat business.

Although ...


Karmon, Elias, Karmon, Elias. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Karmon, Elias, Karmon, Elias. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Elias Karmon is a businessperson, philanthropist and community leader in theBronxfor the last seventy years. Karmon Graduated NYU’sSchoolofCommerceand Accounts Finance in 1932 and entered into the industry of wholesale clothing. Not long after he began working his boss died and his boss’s family sold him the business, but Karmon merged with a bad businessperson and the business soon collapsed. After his first business failure, Karmon thought it would be easier in the retail business; he bought and opened a shop in Morrisania in between 1939-40. Karmon would own the shop on Morrisania for the next ten years. His ...


Mills, Gloria Smalls, Mills, Gloria Smalls. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Mills, Gloria Smalls, Mills, Gloria Smalls. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Mrs. Gloria Smalls Mills is a lifelong resident of the Bronx, first living in Morrisiania. Her grandparents were immigrants from Antigua and moved to Dawson Street in the Bronx. Her mother graduated High School in the 1930’s from James Monroe High School and never worked before she got married and had children. Her father is from Charleston, South Carolina.

A few years later, her family moved to Kelly Street. There were many Italians and Jewish people living in her building. However, once more African-Americans began moving into the neighborhood, they whites began leaving. Also, there was an unspoken segregation ...


Miller, Henry & Stephanie, Miller, Henry & Stephanie. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Miller, Henry & Stephanie, Miller, Henry & Stephanie. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Stephanie’s family moved to the Bronx in the 1940’s. Her parents met in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. When they first got married they lived on Hewett Place. Her father was a waiter and her mother was a clerk for the state insurance fund. Henry’s family moved to the Bronx in 1944 from Harlem to Lenox Avenue. Both of his parents migrated to New York City from the South. His grandfather was a super, which is how his parents got their first house. His father was a member of the National Maritime Union.

Stephanie attended P ...


Jones, Geraldine, Jones, Geraldine. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Jones, Geraldine, Jones, Geraldine. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewer: Mark Naison

Interviewee: Geraldine Jones

Summarized By: Eddie Mikus

Geraldine Jones is a Bronx community activist who resided in the borough since the Morrisania burnouts. Her involvement in community affairs began as a direct result of the burnouts. Therefore, her story depicts a struggle that was all too common amongst African-American Bronx residents during the 1960s.

Jones’ first adverse experience living in the Bronx came during the Tremont blackout of 1977. She recalls that she had been partying with some friends of hers, and that her building was looted as a direct result of the blackout.. Furthermore, she recalls ...


Johnson, Olga, Johnson, Olga. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Johnson, Olga, Johnson, Olga. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Ms. Olga Johnson

Interviewer: Dr. Mark Naison

Summarized by Alice Stryker

Olga Johnson is a long time resident of the Bronx and mother to the Bronx Attorney Robert Johnson. She moved to the Bronx with her family when she was younger fromManhattan. Her parents were originally from theWest Indies. They moved to many different apartment buildings when she was growing up. Close to the time she graduated high school, her family moved into a private home onJackson Avenue. She remembers this being a safe neighborhood. Her father was an elevator operator and her mother was a seamstress and a ...


Fox, Hetty, Fox, Hetty. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Fox, Hetty, Fox, Hetty. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Hetty Fox

Interviewers: Mark Naison, Richard Richardson, Mark C. Smith

Date Of Interview: N/A

Summarized By: Eddie Mikus

Hetty Fox is a former professor who spent much of her youth in the Bronx. As a resident of the borough, she has witnessed many of the social changes that have taken place over the past few decades.

Fox was born in Harlem, but moved to the Bronx at the age of 3. Her family was the first African-American family to reside on the block where she lived. As a child, Fox started school at P.S. 54, but eventually ...


Dukes, Nathan, Dukes, Nathan. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Dukes, Nathan, Dukes, Nathan. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

In the interview granted by Nathan Dukes to AAHP, the interviewee discusses the community life style in the Patterson Houses during 50s, social issues such as drugs, numbers runners, religion, racism within the African American community in Patterson Houses.

In the first part of the interview, Nathan Dukes talked about the closely relationship of all families living in Paterson Houses and the kind of economy that the community was involved at the specific time he covered all the occupations that young people, fathers, and mothers that were tenants of the Paterson Houses were involved. According to him, while the kids ...


Hanson, Avis Interview 2, Hanson, Avis. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Hanson, Avis Interview 2, Hanson, Avis. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Avis Hanson 2nd Interview

Interviewer: Dr. Mark Naison, Natasha Lightfoot, Patricia Wright

Summarized by Alice Stryker

She begins by talking about her West Indian heritage. Her mother came from Antigua and her father came from Jamaica. Her mother and father met in New York City and got married shortly there after. The family moved to the Bronx, which she discussed in the first interview. When Avis was young, her mother sent for her aunt to live with them. However, they did not have good relations with the rest of her extended family. Her father’s Jamaican family did ...


Evans, Howie, Evans, Howie. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Evans, Howie, Evans, Howie. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Howie Evans is a sportswriter and basketball coach who grew up in the Bronx. As a resident of the borough, he has witnessed the effects of racially-based communities. However, his story also depicts the role that basketball has played in the Bronx African-American community.

During his childhood, Evans lived in the Hunts Point neighborhood in buildings where his father served as a superintended. In the early years of his life, Evans said that he played on a regular basis with white children; however, these interracial friendships often broke down by the time he reached adolescence. Additionally, he also said that ...


Gumbs, Robert Interview 1, Gumbs, Robert. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2015

Gumbs, Robert Interview 1, Gumbs, Robert. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewer: Mark Naison

Interviewee: Robert Gumbs

Summarized By: Eddie Mikus

Robert Gumbs is a resident of the Bronx who grew up in the Morrisania neighborhood. During his life, he has experienced many significant social changes that have occurred in the borough.

Gumbs was born in 1941 on Union Avenue, with his parents relocating to Lyman Place after a doctor suggested that there was cleaner air there. For his schooling, Gumbs attended PS 54, PS 40 for junior high, and the School of Industrial Art for high school. In his early childhood, Gumbs said that the vast majority of his neighborhood ...