Fordham professor's project highlights impact of African Americans in the Bronx
A longtime Fordham University professor took on a project that tells the stories of more than 500,000 people of African descent in the Bronx - something he says hasn't been done.
Dr. Mark Naison, founder of Bronx African American History Project, says the project is an "amazing portrait of the resilience of the Bronx over really the last 80 years."
The fusion of culture and people brought together by close-quartered apartment living has been told so far in more than 400 digitally archived interviews available online.
"People of different backgrounds are living together," says Naison. "You can hear everybody's arguments, you can smell their food and you can hear their music."
Naison says he set out to correct the stereotypes of the Bronx. Instead of being known for the fires in the '70s and the crack epidemic of the '80s, Naison is showing people the rest of the timeline.
"In the '40s, '50s and early '60s, the Bronx produced more varieties of popular music than any place in the country," says Naison.
The project also highlights African immigrants and their impact on education and culture in the Bronx.
Dr. Jane Kani Edward also worked on the project. Edward says, "They tend to incorporate some of the American cultural practices and also maintaining some of their own practices that they brought with them."
The two also launched the Bronx COVID-19 oral history project, which documents how residents were affected by the pandemic.