October 29, 2011
We live in challenging and exciting times. While the global recession continues to impose severe hardships, young people throughout the world are rising up to demand that governments respond to the will of their people and distribute wealth and resources more equitably.
Never has the uncovering and sharing of historical knowledge become more important and no research project in the nation does this more effectively than the Bronx African American History Project. The BAAHP is not merely an internationally known community history project, it creates partnerships between scholars, community leaders, and ordinary citizens that gives a voice to people who would otherwise be left out of history books and neglected by those formulating social policy. Members of our research team not only write books and articles, and archive oral histories as a data base for scholars around the world, we are out in the community giving tours, workshops and lectures and helping residents tell their stories in ways that empower them and bring needed resources to their neighborhoods.
Here are some examples of ways the BAAHP brings history to life:
Worked with community leaders to rename a park and a street in the Bronx’s Historic Morrisania neighborhood after the great coach and mentor Hilton White and to rename a street in that same neighborhood after a pioneering singing group “The Chords.”
Collaborated with social workers, teachers and performing artists to have a third group from Berlin come to New York as part of the Bronx-Berlin Youth exchange and a first group from the Bronx go to Berlin.
Sponsored conferences, health fairs, and cultural festivals in collaboration with leaders of the Bronx’s growing African immigrant community to make more resources available to this dynamic new population and to make scholars and public officials more aware of this community’s cultural traditions and needs.
Helped affordable housing groups plan and construct a new apartment building in the Bronx- the Melody- that honors the music traditions of the neighborhood, while working with our longtime community partner WHEDco ( Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation) to create the Bronx Heritage Music Center, an innovative complex which will include apartments, a school, and a performance space.
Initiated a “Teachers Talk Back Project” which helps teachers in the Bronx, and throughout the city, fight for more arts, more history, and more community outreach projects in the city’s public schools.
If you are interested in promoting research that empowers Bronx residents, that creates an archive on Bronx history consulted by scholars around the world and inspires Fordham to place more of its resources at the disposal of people in Bronx communities, there is no better way of doing so than contributing the Bronx African American History Project.
Thank you for considering the BAAHP!
Mark D Naison
Founder and Principal Investigator
Bronx African American History Project