Mark Naison is Professor of History and African American Studies at Fordham University. A recipient of a B.A., M.A. and Ph.D from Columbia University, he 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 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 culture 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, 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 was of the featured readings in a new course offered by Dr. Naison at Fordham in Fall 2016 entitled “The Bronx: Immigration, Race and Culture.” He has also been featured on several news programs, the O'Reilly Factor, and the Chappelle Show, where his performance was satirized by Louis CK on Saturday Night Live.