Skip to main content

Mark D. Naison

Mark Naison

Professor of History and African & African American Studies
Dealy Hall 640
Fordham University, Rose Hill Campus

Phone: 718-817-3748



1976 PhD, American History, Columbia University awarded January 1976. "The Communist Party in Harlem, 1928-1936."

1967 MA, American History, Columbia University, awarded June 1967. "The Decline of the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, 1937-1939."

1966 BA American History, Columbia College, awarded  June 1966.


African American History 20th Century


From Rock and Roll to Hip Hop: Urban Youth Cultures in Post War America


Dr. Mark Naison, Professor of African & African American Studies and History at Fordham University,is the author of seven 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 undergraduate and graduate courses around the nation.

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, 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 is one of the featured readings in a new course offered by Dr. Naison at Fordham entitled “The Bronx: Immigration, Race and Culture.”

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 20 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 and a housing complex with historic significance, as well as the founding of a cultural center honoring the Bronx’s musical heritage. The research of the BAAHP will be the basis of Dr. Naison's eighth book, Boogie Down Legacies: Essays on the Bronx's Contribution to Global Popular Music which will be published by Fordham University Press in the spring of 2023.

A co-founder of the Bronx Berlin Youth Exchange, Naison has published articles about Bronx music and Bronx culture in German, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese as well as English, and given talks about these subjects in Germany, Spain and Italy.

In addition to his scholarship, Dr Naison has done extensive news commentary on outlets as diverse as ABC, CNN, New York 1, Fox News, and Fox Business, has appeared on the O’Reilly Factor, and entered the world of comedy with a much publicized appearance on the Chappelle Show. His courses have been regularly covered on Bronx 12 News and were recently featured in a Daily News article on the most poplar college courses in New York City.

Selected Publications

White Boy: A Memoir

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child: Growing Up in the Patterson Houses in the 1950's- An Interview With Victoria Archibald Good

From Doo Wop to Hip Hop: The Bittersweet Odyssey of African Americans in the South Bronx

In the News

"Deporting Children and Families" 6.27.19

"The Multiracial Bronx: A Unique Cultural Incubator in Post War America" 5.9.19

"The Bronx: A Prose Poem" 4.1.19

"Fordham Road Reflections" 3.14.19

"Italian Americans in Bronx Doo Wop: The Glory and the Paradox" 2.13.19

"Teachers Rising!" 4.5.18

"Advice for Student Activist: It's A Marathon, Not A Sprint" 3.23.18

"Morrisania: The Birthplace of Hip Hop" Anthony Bourdain - Places Unknown, 8.3.17

"Tony Guida's New York: Mark Naison" CUNY TV, 4.19.17

"Why Hip Hop Began in the Bronx" C-SPAN, 3.24.17

"As South Bronx Became Symbol of Urban Blight, Northeast Bronx Became Refuge for Middle-Class Blacks." NY1, 2.24.17

"Bronx Commons to showcase a music venue.", 1.26.17

"In Home of Hip Hop, a Concert Hall to Honor Its Musical History." The New York Times, 1.16.17

"How the Bronx Gave Us Hip Hop.", 11.21.16

"This is what 'whitelash' looks like." CNN, 11.11.16

"Dallas Cowboys give welcome rise to a different 'D' vs. 'R' debate." The Dallas Morning News, 10.31.16

"Recaptured Time in the South Bronx," WNYC, 10.10.16

“JAZZ NOTES: Hope Way, Green Film, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sistas’,” New York Amsterdam News, 9.16.16

“What makes America ‘exceptional’? Clinton and Trump trade places (+video),” The Christian Science Monitor, 9.1.16

“Does a New Netflix Series ‘Get it Down’ in its Portrayal of the Bronx?” WNYC, 8.18.16

“David Schwimmer’s ‘Feed The Beast’ Tackles South Bronx Gentrification Amid Heated Debate,” International Business Time, 6.5.16

“Prospects for the Next President Keeping John B. King Jr. as Education Secretary,” Education Week, 3.22.16

“Professor: Why I am ‘incredibly pessimistic’ about the future of public education,” The Washington Post, 3.11.16

“For Black Lives Matter, MLK’s kind of activism isn’t the only way,” The Christian Science Monitor, 1.18.16

“Is racism on the rise? More in U.S. say it’s a ‘big problem,’ CNN/KFF poll finds,” CNN, 11.24.15

“The People United,” Huffington Post, 11.9.15

“Fordham to Offer Course on The Bronx in Wake of On-Campus Racial Incidents,”, 11.6.15

“How we can honor a Bronx jazz great,” am New York, 10.21.15