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Full-Text Articles in African American Studies

Mckay, Stephanie, Mckay, Stephanie. Bronx African American History Project Dec 2008

Mckay, Stephanie, Mckay, Stephanie. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Stephanie McKay is a successful, well-known soul singer and songwriter based in the Bronx. She was born on June 2, 1967 in East Harlem. When she was two years old her parents moved to Co-op City in the Bronx because it promised a better, more secure way of life. Both of Stephanie’s parents were from Norfolk, VA, and they moved to Harlem when they were about 20 years old. Her mother worked as a legal secretary and her father worked as a taxi driver before becoming a labor organizer. Stephanie attended elementary school in Co-Op City. At the age ...


Dioup, Mouhamadou, Dioup, Mouhamadou Bronx African American History Project Nov 2008

Dioup, Mouhamadou, Dioup, Mouhamadou Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Dioup is a Senegalese citizen who came to the United States when he was twenty years old. Dioup speaks briefly about what motivated his decision to come to the United States as opposed to France. According to Dioup, the benefit of going to France is of course the shared language. Since Senegal is a francophone country, it wouldn’t have been much of a culture shock for him to relocate o France. However, to things discouraged a move to France. The first is the large degree of discrimination and racial harassment within the country. The second is their music scene ...


Khoule, Manadou, Khoule, Manadou. Bronx African American History Project Nov 2008

Khoule, Manadou, Khoule, Manadou. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Karima Zerrou, Mark Naison

INTERVIEWEE: Manadou Khoule (aka DJ Khoule)

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Note: This interview was originally conducted in French and translated into English.

Born in Dakar, Senegal, Manadou Khoule (aka DJ Khoule) came to the United States in 2000, when he was 20 years old. At the time that he emigrated, he was the best DJ in Senegal. Most of his influences were Western hip-hop, especially the work of Tupac Shakur. He got his first set of turntables when he was 15 years old—they were given to him by a local community center. He ...


Ligon, Glenn, Ligon, Glenn. Bronx African American History Project Nov 2008

Ligon, Glenn, Ligon, Glenn. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Glenn Ligon

Interviewer: Oneka LaBennett

Summarized by Sheina Ledesma

Glenn Ligon is a successful artist whose work has been represented in various public collections, which include the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Tate Modern in London. Glenn was born in 1960 in the Bronx. At the time of his birth his parents lived in the Forest Projects on Trinity Avenue in the South Bronx with his older brother Tyrone. His parents were both originally from the South. His father was from Farmville, Virginia and his mother from Bishopsville, South Carolina ...


Palina, Sarah, Palina, Sarah. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Nov 2008

Palina, Sarah, Palina, Sarah. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

“Sarah Palina” was born in 1983 in Lyon, France. Her father was Algerian, and her mother is half-French and half-Arabic (Berber.)When she was seven years old, her parents divorced, and she moved with her mother and three siblings from a fairly upper-middle class neighborhood to a lower-income section on the outskirts of Lyon. While her father spoke Arabic, Sarah never learned to speak it, as her father’s parents had decided to raise him in a more Westernized fashion. Similarly, both of Sarah’s parents were Muslim, but neither of them practiced the religion. Now Sarah considers herself a ...


Brown, Roscoe, Brown, Roscoe. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2008

Brown, Roscoe, Brown, Roscoe. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Mark Naison

INTERVIEWEE: Roscoe Brown

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Roscoe Brown is the head of a Center for Urban Education at CUNY. He grew up in Washington, DC during the Great Depression. Educated at Dunbar high school in DC and Springfield College in Massachusetts, Brown joined the Tuskegee Airmen in 1943. At Springfield, Brown was one of only 15 black students. He studied Pre-Med and played football, basketball and lacrosse—in fact, he was one of the first black lacrosse players in America.

Brown flew 68 missions with the airmen, and participated in the longest mission of all ...


Senghor, Olivia, Senghor, Olivia Interview: Bronx African American History Project Oct 2008

Senghor, Olivia, Senghor, Olivia Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Olivia Senghor, born in 1978 in Senegal, Dakar, is a musician and makeup artist living in the Bronx. She is of the Serer ethic group, and her primary languages are French and Wolof. She was raised as a Catholic, and is the granddaughter of the first president of Senegal, Leopold Sedhar Senghor. At the age of 8, her family moved to Paris, where she lived in a neighborhood primarily inhabited by Jews and Asians. Both of her parents were very well educated—her father had a law degree, and her mother held an MBA. Consequently, they expected Olivia and her ...


Otibu, Johnson, Otibu, Johnson. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Oct 2008

Otibu, Johnson, Otibu, Johnson. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Johnson Otibu (b. 1955) is the proprietor of the Sahara African Caribbean market in the Bronx. He came to New York from Ghana in 1978, at the age of 23. Otibu left a good job in the social security business in Ghana in order to try out the opportunities in America. When he immigrated, the exchange rate was 2 American dollars to every Ghanaian dollar, so Otibu arrived with more money than most immigrants. Initially he settled in Harlem on 150th St. and lived off of what he had brought. However, he soon realized that it was much harder ...


Boadu, Mary., Boadu, Mary. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2008

Boadu, Mary., Boadu, Mary. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Mark Naison, Jane Edward

INTERVIEWEE: Mary Boadu

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Mary Boadu was born in Koumase, the Ashanti region of Ghana in 1988. At the time of the interview, was a student at Columbia University. When she was three years old, Mary’s mother got the chance to work in a nursing home in the United States, and she left her family in Ghana. Mary was raised by her father and cousins until 1995, when her father got the opportunity to join her mother in the States. Mary’s mother was pregnant when she left Ghana, and ...


Brewington, Dean, Brewington, Dean. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2008

Brewington, Dean, Brewington, Dean. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Dean (Thomas Norwood) Brewington

Interviewer: Maxine

Date of Interview: October 8th, 2008

Summarized by Michael Kavanagh

Born Thomas Norwood Brewington in 1937 in Goldsboro, North Carolina, he ventured to the Bronx by train at four years old. While growing up in the Bronx, he had the opportunity to meet and play with the best jazz musicians of all time. Also known by names Norwood and Dean, he currently lives in Minnesota and regularly does musical gigs at local clubs in Minnesota and around the country.

At four years old, his relatives put him on a train from Goldsboro ...


Jawo, Omar, Jawo, Omar. Bronx African American History Project Oct 2008

Jawo, Omar, Jawo, Omar. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Dr. Mark Naison and Dr. Jane Edwards

INTERVIEWEE: Omar Jawo

SUMMARY BY: Andrew O’Connell

Born in 1952 in the Republic of Gambia, Omar Jawo, comes from the Fulani, an ethnic group in Gambia known primarily for agriculture and the raising of livestock. Seeing as how the Fulani placed little to no emphasis on formal education, Jawo followed his uncle to a Catholic Mission, where he attended elementary and high school, to pursue scholarship. Although a Muslim by religion, Jawo claims that he felt no pressure to convert at this mission school.

Following his education on the mission, Jawo ...


Bonsu, Sonia., Bonsu, Sonia. Bronx African American History Project Sep 2008

Bonsu, Sonia., Bonsu, Sonia. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Mark Naison, Jane Edward

INTERVIEWEE: Sonia Bonsu

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Sonia Bonsu was born in the Bronx on March 16, 1977. She attended public school in the Bronx, then the Calhoun School in Manhattan, and Harvard University as an undergraduate. She then attended law school at Fordham University, and she is currently the Director of Annual Giving at the Calhoun School. She was raised by both her parents, who were Ghanaian immigrants (Ashanti people). Her father had come to the Bronx in 1969 on a student visa for a job and brought his wife with him shortly ...


Armstrong, Gregory, Armstrong, Gregory. Bronx African American History Project Sep 2008

Armstrong, Gregory, Armstrong, Gregory. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWERS: Mark Naison, Oneka LaBennett, Christina Grath

INTERVIEWEE: Gregory Armstrong

SUMMARY BY: Andrew O’Connell

Gregory Armstrong, born on September 18, 1970 in the Bronx, spent his most formative years growing up in the Bronx River Housing Project at 1455 Harrod Ave. The son of a legal secretary and a father who worked in the Sanitation Department for 27 years, Armstrong recalls a time when growing up in the projects proved tough, but lacked some of the more malicious qualities that they might possess today. While Armstrong admits that violence occurred regularly in his neighborhood (though never directly in front ...


Amosso, Agossou And Comlanvi Bamezon, Amosso, Agossou And Comlanvi Bamezon. Bronx African American History Project Aug 2008

Amosso, Agossou And Comlanvi Bamezon, Amosso, Agossou And Comlanvi Bamezon. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Jane Edwards

INTERVIEWEE: Agossou Amossou, Bamezon Comlanvi

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Agossou Amossou and Bamezon Comlanvi both immigrated to the US from Togo. Amossou, who works as a security guard in the Bronx Museum and is earning a bachelor’s degree in French from Lehman college, came to the Bronx in 2004. Comlanvi also works in security and came to the Bronx in 2002. He is also studying French at Lehman College. During the interview, both men discuss the difficulties and differences they have experienced in relocating from Togo to the US. Foods, music, religion, languages, and ...


Seymone, Robert, Seymone, Robert Interview: Bronx African American History Project Jul 2008

Seymone, Robert, Seymone, Robert Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Robert Seymone (b. January 22, 1951) is originally from the Bronx, the son of an African-American mother from Little Rock, Arkansas and a German-Native American father from Pennsylvania. He is a theater, film, and television actor by trade, although he also has an informal background in music and dance. His mother was a dancer and performer who was heavily involved in show business. She was in the 1945 black film Big Timers, which starred Stephen Fechit, as the exotic dancer Tarzana. Robert’s mother frequently performed as character throughout New York, and she was backed by an all-female African-American band ...


Fleet, Michelle, African & African American Studies Department. Michelle Fleet May 2008

Fleet, Michelle, African & African American Studies Department. Michelle Fleet

Oral Histories

Michelle fleet is a dancer with the Paul Taylor Dance Company who grew up in the Jackson Houses in the Bronx. She was born on September 24, 1977.

Growing up, Fleet remembers the vast array of empty buildings. Her mother would warn her to be in by a certain time because of how dangerous the area was. Fleet says that hearing gunshots was not an uncommon phenomenon.

Fleet cites her father as her musical influence. He would often play while in the house and invite his band mates over for jam sessions. Her father played funk alternative style of music ...


Magassa, Bandiougou And Lassana Fofana, Magassa, Bandiougou And Lassana Fofana Bronx African American History Project May 2008

Magassa, Bandiougou And Lassana Fofana, Magassa, Bandiougou And Lassana Fofana Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewer: Mark Naison

Interviewees: Lassana Fofana, Bandiogou Magassa

Summarized By: Eddie Mikus

Lassana Fofana and Bandiogou Magassa are two immigrants to the Bronx from the African country of Mal. Their story stands as an example of the challenges that immigrants face when arriving in a new country.

Fofana and Magassa grew up in a rural part of Mali which did not have electricity or television. Fofana attended school in Mali up until the ninth grade while Magassa attended through the 12th grade (although Magassa enrolled in Martin Luther King High School after arriving in the United States). Magassa cited ...


Everich, William, Everich, William. Bronx African American History Project May 2008

Everich, William, Everich, William. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

This is a very personal account of Mr. Everich's youth and his involvement in collectives and as a community activist. His parents are Ukraninan and he grew up in the Bronx, in a mixed neighborhood. His father was a violent man, beating his wife and children. He was also a racist man and it was this attitude, juxtaposed with the kindness of the very neighbors that he criticized, that convinced the young William of the injustices of prejudice. Everich discusses his school days and the games they played in the neighborhood, from wiffle ball to building scooters from milk ...


Sanchez, Ivan, Sanchez, Ivan Interview: Bronx African American History Project May 2008

Sanchez, Ivan, Sanchez, Ivan Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Ivan Sanchez

Interviewer: Dr. Mark Naison

Transcriber: unavailable

Date: 05/02/2008

Summarized by: Daniel Matthews

Ivan Sanchez is the author of Next Stop: Growing Up Wild Style in the Bronx. Ivan was born near 170th Street off Jerome Avenue on 9/21/1972. His father is from Puerto Rico, while his mother was born in New York and has Puerto Rican ancestry. He has an older brother, a younger sister, and seven stepsiblings by his father. He was close to his Titi, whom he considered a second mother. He spent much of his time at her home ...


Roberts, Beverly, Roberts, Beverly. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Apr 2008

Roberts, Beverly, Roberts, Beverly. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Beverly Roberts (b. 06/09/51) is the president of the Parkchester branch of the NAACP. Roberts was born and raised in New York. She lived in San Juan Hill in Manhattan until she was five, and then she, her three siblings, and her New York- born mother moved to the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx. At the time, Roberts’ family was part of West Farms’ minority black population. Beverly, her mother, and her siblings faced prejudice and intimidation from white (predominately Jewish) children and adults. Consequently, the Roberts’ set about earning their community’s respect. Beverly’s mother ...


Brown, Genevieve, Brown, Genevieve. Bronx African American History Project Apr 2008

Brown, Genevieve, Brown, Genevieve. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Ms. Genevieve Smith-Brown

Interviewer: Dr. Brian Purnell

Date: April 19, 2008

Summarized by: Estevan Román

Ms. Genevieve Smith-Brown is (was) a resident of the Bronx. She was a very involved community activist, volunteered her time for Seabury Daycare, policy board member Model Cities program of the and President of the Mid-Bronx Desperadoes organization.

Ms. Genevieve Smith-Brown, formerly Genevieve Smith-Brooks was born on July 12th, 1937 in Anderson, South Carolina. In a town where most of the African-Americans were sharecroppers, Genevieve’s parents were one of the few African-Americans that owned a farm in Anderson, South Carolina. This farm ...


Johnson, Daryl, African & African American Studies Department. Daryl Johnson Apr 2008

Johnson, Daryl, African & African American Studies Department. Daryl Johnson

Oral Histories

Darryl Johnson is a professional DJ who goes by the name DJ Thoro. His story details the career path that one would take to success within the music industry.

Johnson was born in 1975 in Harlem. During his childhood, he shuttled between New York and Florida, as he had family in both states. He developed an interest in music after listening to a series of tapes which his brother made while attending park jams. Furthermore, he practiced skills as a DJ by listening to radio programs on KISS FM and WBLs. Johnson had to pursue his dream as a musician ...


Chianese, Dominic, Chianese, Dominic. Bronx African American History Project Mar 2008

Chianese, Dominic, Chianese, Dominic. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Mark Naison, Oneka LaBennett

INTERVIEWEE: Dominic Chianese

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Dominic Chianese is a Bronx native and a well-known actor and singer. He was born 2/24/1931 in the Bronx. His paternal grandfather was from Naples, Italy, and his mother’s side was from near Sorrento. He was raised in the Arthur Avenue neighborhood, and attended public school. Most of his classmates were Italian, although there were some Jewish and Hispanic children as well. Despite the fact that Chianese had German, Irish, Italian, and French-Canadian friends while growing up, the Italian and African-American communities ...


Davis, Gloria, Davis, Gloria. Bronx African American History Project Mar 2008

Davis, Gloria, Davis, Gloria. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Brian Purnell, Peter Derrick

INTERVIEWEE: Gloria Davis

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Gloria Davis was born on February 9, 1938, at Morrisania hospital in the Bronx. From the ages of 4 to 12, she was raised in Gainesville, Florida by her grandmother, since her mother felt that she was unfit to raise a daughter by herself at that time. Davis then moved back to the Bronx to live with her mother, and Davis has stayed in the Bronx ever since. She is the mother of six, the grandmother of thirteen, and the great-grandmother of six. She lost a 12-year ...


Carter, Anthony, Carter, Anthony. Bronx African American History Project Mar 2008

Carter, Anthony, Carter, Anthony. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Claude Mangum, Oneka LaBennett, Mark Naison

INTERVIEWEE: Anthony “Doc” Carter

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Anthony “Doc” Carter is a graduate of Fordham University and is the vice-president of the Johnson and Johnson Corporation. He was born 11/3/54 in the Bronx and was the eighth of ten children. His father, born in Ohio, was of Haitian descent, and his mother, a Virginia native, had Blackfoot ancestry. His father worked as a unionized construction worker and mason who died in service in 1963, and his mother died in 1962 of kidney failure. As a result, Carter and ...


Altschul, Barry, Altschul, Barry. Bronx African American History Project Feb 2008

Altschul, Barry, Altschul, Barry. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Born in 1943, Barry Altschul grew up in the West Bronx in the forties and fifties. Altschul is a jazz drummer who first learned to play the drums at age eleven. He grew up playing shows in the Bronx and Harlem while also attending “jam sessions” where he received pointers from jazz musicians such as Philly Joe and Art Blakey.

Altschul attended elementary school at PS 70, junior high school at PS 117, and then attended Taft High School. Altschul’s elementary school’s ethnic makeup was mostly white, whereas in high school Altschul recalls that the student body was ...


Cedeno, Luis, Cedeno, Luis. Bronx African American History Project Jan 2008

Cedeno, Luis, Cedeno, Luis. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Louis Cedeno was born August 11, 1961 to Puerto Rican and Cuban parents. His mother was a factory worker while his father worked in the hospital. He was born at Fordham Hospital, which currently does not exist and lived on Webster Avenue for the first few years of his life. He would spend the rest of his childhood on Ryder Avenue near Grand Concourse.

Louis describes the racial barriers in his neighborhood. He says there were clear color lines within the neighborhood saying that if a Latino or black went “above Aloe Park, they were dead meat”. Despite this characteristic ...


Greene, David, Greene, David. Bronx African American History Project Jan 2008

Greene, David, Greene, David. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

David Greene is a teacher and football coach at Scarsdale High School in Westchester County. He was born on November 3rd, 1949 in Los Angeles Ca. His mother was a Russian immigrant who had come to the Bronx when she was 14 years old, and his father, who lived in Harlem, was of Austrian, Hungarian, Polish, and Russian descent. His mother worked in the fashion industry as a model, and his father worked as a trucker. David’s mother was a down-to-earth Russian Jewish woman who spent all her time working and managing her household. She was suspicious of ...