Mark Naison is Professor of History and African American Studies at Fordham University. He is the author of six books and over 300 articles on African American politics, labor history, popular culture and education policy. His first book, Communists in Harlem in the Depression, published in 1983, is still in print, and is used in graduate courses around the nation. Dr. Naison is the founder of the Bronx African American History Project, one of the largest community based oral history projects in the nation and has brought his research into more than 30 Bronx schools, as well as Bronx based cultural organizations and NGO’s. In recent years, the BAAHP’s research has led to granting landmark status to several streets with historic significance, as well as the founding of a cultural center honoring the Bronx’s musical heritage. A co-founder of the Bronx Berlin Youth exchange, Naison has published articles about Bronx music and Bronx in German, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese as well as English, and given talks about these subjects in Germany, Spain and Italy. He recently published a novel, Pure Bronx, co-written with his former student Melissa Castillo-Garsow, and a book of essays on educational policy and Bronx history, Badass Teachers Unite. His seventh book, to be published by Fordham University Press in September 2016, is Before the Fires, An Oral History of African American Life in the Bronx from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. This book will be one of the featured readings in a new course offered by Dr. Naison at Fordham in Fall 2016 entitled “The Bronx: Immigration, Race and Culture.”
The Bronx African-American History Project, Dr Naison's most recent venture, was launched collaboratively with the Bronx Historical Society in the Fall of 2002. Since that time, Dr Naison has conducted over one hundred and fifty interviews with African-American professionals, community activists, business leaders and musicians who grew up in Bronx between the 1930's and the 1980's. The first product of this research " It Takes a Village to Raise a Child: Growing Up in the Patterson Houses in the 1950's- An Interview With Victoria Archibald Good" was published in the Spring 2003 issue of the Bronx County Historical Journal and a second article "From Doo Wop to Hip Hop: The Bittersweet Odyssey of African Americans in the South Bronx" was published in the Spring 2004 issue of that journal. Naison has also begun working on two books related to the BAAHP, a collection of oral histories entitled "Before the Fires: An Oral History of African American Life From the 1930's to the 1960's, " and a memoir written by Allen Jones entitled "The Rat That Got Away."
When not doing historical research, Naison likes to play tennis, golf and basketball, and make periodic forays into the media. He has appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, the Discovery Channel's Greatest American Competition (as Dr King's advocate), and on the Dave Chappell Show, where his "performance" has been preserved on that show's Second Year DVD.
See also Dr Naison's blog, "With a Brooklyn Accent."