Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York


Joel Turner  

Interviewee: Joel Turner
Interviewer: Dr. Mark Naison
No Date of Interview
Summarized by Christian Rivera : BAAHP Oral History # 3 Joel Turner

Joel Turner, an executive with IBM for 29 years, was born in 1949 in the Patterson Houses on Tinton Avenue and Prospect Avenue, where he lived from 1950-1972. During his early childhood education, he was one of a handful of African American students attending a Yeshiva School on Morris Avenue, where he learned Hebrew & Mathematics. In 1969 he earned his Associates degree in Data processing from Bronx Community College. After graduating from Bronx Community College, Turner attended NYU full time as a Business management student while working part-time for IBM. Turner, in order to rise the ranks in the IBM, company earned his MBA form Fordham University. The MBA from Fordham allowed Joel to become a manager for IBM.

Turner evaded the Gang and drug culture of the Patterson Houses by being independent. He supervised activities for young people in the Patterson Community Center. In addition, he was the President of the Board of the East Side House which involved College assistance programs and programs for senior citizens. Turner’s association with SEO (Sponsor for Educational Opportunity) with Jack Macolydin showed him how to set goals and sharpen his study habit skills.  Despite a positive childhood experience, Turner did face discrimination by Jewish teachers.

Turner experiences with the Civil Rights movement involved the presence of the TWO (Third World Organization) and the Black Panther party. Turner’s experiences with Music include singing Doowop on street corners & hallways and listening to his parents old Jazz records.  In addition to singing Doowop, Turner’s sang with the Jewish choir at the African American Synagogue on 120th Lenox Avenue. In addition to singing, Turner Parent’s played numbers in the Patterson Houses. Turner evaded the Vietnam War by attending college. Turner‘s family left the Patterson Houses in 1972. He now resides in White Plains and regularly attends the Patterson Houses Reunions.

Keywords:  Patterson Houses, Yeshiva, Bronx Community College, Fordham University New York University, Booty Train, Gangs, Drug culture, IBM, Patterson Community Center, SEO Organization, Numbers, Civil Rights Movement, TWO (Third World Organization), Vietnam, Jack Macolyndin, Doowop, Motown, Discrimination, Multiculturalism, Synagogue, Jewish Choir. Transportation.


© 2009 Bronx African-American History Project at Fordham University

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