Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York


Nathan Dukes

37th Interview
Interviewee: Nathan “Bubba” Dukes
Interviewers: Dr. Mark Naison, Jim, and Kevin
Date of Interview January 26, 2004
Summarized by Christian Rivera

Nathan Dukes, a supportive community activist and a youth worker in the Bronx,
was born in the Patterson Houses on Tinton Avenue & 161st street in the 1950’s. The multicultural neighborhood included citizens from Jamaica and the Southeastern United States. The neighborhood exhibited a supportive atmosphere through neighborhood watches, childcare, and an underground economy. The supportive neighborhood molded Dukes into a prolific basketball player. Dukes played basketball with Mr. Floyd Lane at the local community center when he was nine years old. During Duke’s career at Dewitt Clinton High School, he played with superb basketball players such as Eddie Gaylord, Walt Robertson, and Nellie Burchum. Hilton White, the director of 120 Park on Cornwall Avenue and head coach of The Neighborhood Falcons, encouraged Nathan to attend his alma mater Benedict College in South Carolina. While at Benedict College, Nathan made All Conference and Small College All American. The disciplinary aspect of Basketball shielded Dukes from gangs such as the Fordham Baldies and the all Latino “Suicides “. Additionally, the strict discipline of basketball allowed Nathan to avoid the destructive influx of heroin within the Patterson Houses in the 1960’s. The heroin influx destroyed families. Dukes and his family moved from the Patterson Houses to pre-residential Co-op city (Northeast Bronx).
After graduating from Benedict College, Nathan played in the Rutgers Tournament with Neville Shea and Johny Mathis.
Dukes and fellow residents reminisce about their youthful days in the
Patterson Houses by holding annual reunions. The reunions reflect the close ties and camaraderie between the Patterson House residents

Keywords:  Multiculturalism, Famous Residents, Patterson Houses, Neighborhood, Occupations, Neighborhood watch, childcare, Mr. Clay, Underground economy, Number Runners, Economy, community activist, Religion, Basketball, P.S 18, Civil Rights Movement, Gangs, Heroin (Drugs), Democratic Socialism, Clark Junior High School, Elementary Education, Musical influences, Neighborhood friends, Reunions.


© 2009 Bronx African-American History Project at Fordham University

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