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Jenkins, Arthur, Jenkins, Arthur. Bronx African American History Project Dec 2005

Jenkins, Arthur, Jenkins, Arthur. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Arthur Jenkins

Interviewer: Dr. Mark Naison, Maxine Gordon, Dr. Brian Purnell

Summarized by Alice Stryker

Arthur Jenkins is a musician who grew up in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. His mother’s side of the family moved to New York City from Houston, Texas. His grandmother had moved the family to Harlem, where his mother met his father. When Jenkins was born, his family was living in Harlem and shortly thereafter moved to the Bronx. His father worked as a garment presser and worked for a tailor.

He first began playing in bands when he was attending Junior ...


Beckford, Hugh, Beckford, Hugh. Bronx African American History Project Dec 2005

Beckford, Hugh, Beckford, Hugh. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

INTERVIEWER: Natasha Lightfoot

INTERVIEWEE: Hugh Beckford

SUMMARY BY: Patrick O’Donnell

Hugh Beckford is the director of Caribbean American Family Services, an organization that he established in 1991. He is a 1985 graduate of Fordham College, Rose Hill, where he studied theology and sociology. Beckford was born in Trelawney, Jamaica, and was raised by his grandparents because his parents divorced when he was young. He was locally educated in Jamaican public schools and attended St. George’s College in Kingston, a boarding school. As a young man he was considered one of the best dancers in Jamaica and occasionally appeared ...


Orange, Taur, Orange, Taur. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Orange, Taur, Orange, Taur. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Taur Orange grew up in the Bronxdale Houses which they were able to live in because his father served in WWII and these houses were designated to veterans. This housing complex opened in the early 1950’s and consisted of mostly two parent households. Her father worked for the New York Transit Authority, and after she turned 6, her mother worked as an assistant teacher, or paraprofessional as they were called. He describes the houses as having lots of trees and grass surrounding the building, which were very well kept. The ethnic makeup of the houses was very diverse. For ...


Murray, Elizabeth, Murray, Elizabeth. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Murray, Elizabeth, Murray, Elizabeth. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Her family moved from Harlem in 1941. Her father was a Transit Worker in the Subway Division and her mother was a seamstress from their home. They moved into a 3 family house on Home Street. Growing up there was a rich street life. She saw the racial makeup of her street change from mostly German and Jewish to mostly African American. She attended PS 63 and really enjoyed herself there. The school was pretty diverse. Her family attended Caldwell AME Zion Church. This was a powerful force in her life and in the community. Even though she lived in ...


Walters, Delores, Walters, Delores. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Walters, Delores, Walters, Delores. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Delores Walters was born in Lincoln hospital and lived in Rogers Place in the Bronx for nine years. Her parents grew up in Harlem and moved from there sometime in the 1940’s. Delores fondly recalls the block in the neighborhood and the street atmosphere on Rogers Place; she remembers being very active, with a lot of playmates. The community was predominantly Black, and the building she lived in was run by a Caribbean family whom she remembers doing a great job of keeping the building up. Although Delores does remember there being bullies, she never had difficulty with them ...


Himmelstein, Paul, Himmelstein, Paul. Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Himmelstein, Paul, Himmelstein, Paul. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Paul Himmelstein

Interviewers: Mark Naison and Brian Purnell

Summarized by Alice Stryker

Paul Himmelstein is one of 14 children and grew up on Prospect and Jennings Avenue. His father worked 7 days a week, as a truck driver during the week and a cab driver on the weekends. Both of his parents are Jewish and speak Yiddish.

The neighborhood was predominately black when he was 5. Before that, however, it was mostly Jewish. He speaks of the Jewish Delis and markets that he and his family used to go to on the weekends that were very close by. The ...


Cannon, Paul--Jerald Williams And Woodrow Johnson, Cannon, Paul--Jerald Williams And Woodrow Johnson. Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Cannon, Paul--Jerald Williams And Woodrow Johnson, Cannon, Paul--Jerald Williams And Woodrow Johnson. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewer: Mark Naison, Brian Purnell

Interviewee: Paul Cannon, Woody Johnson, Gerald Williams

Date: 11/10/05

Summarized by Salmaan Khan on 4/14/07

Gerald Williams was born in Newport News, Virginia. He moved to the Morrisania section of the Bronx with his mother with the intention of working and moving back. Gerald attempted to earn some money by working a job at the Hotel Diplomat on 43rd street in order to go to Canada to play in the International Table Tennis Tournament. They chose to move to the Bronx because of friends his mother had in the Bronx ...


Blakeney, James, Blakeney, James. Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Blakeney, James, Blakeney, James. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

James Blakeney is a long time Bronx resident who grew up in the Patterson Housing Projects. His parents were sharecroppers from North and South Carolina. Neither of his parents received an education beyond the 6th or 8th grade. His father fought in World War II and then returned to the states to live in Queens, where James lived for three years, before moving to the Patterson Houses. His father worked at the mess hall of St. Albans Neighborhood Hospital and left the family, as many fathers were beginning to do, when James was ten years old. Mrs. Blakeney ...


Kogolo, Raymond, Jr., Kogolo, Raymond, Jr. Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Kogolo, Raymond, Jr., Kogolo, Raymond, Jr. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Raymond Kogolo Jr.

Interviewers: Ogonetojoh Okoh, Brian Purnell

Summarized By: Eddie Mikus

Raymond Kogolo Jr. is a Bronx resident who came to the borough from Lagos, Nigeria, in order to attend Fordham University. In his interview, he discussed his experience at a Nigerian boarding school as well as his life in the Bronx as a Nigerian immigrant.

As a child, Kogolo’s mother came to the Bronx due to her job as an airline pilot and split the family’s time between the borough and Nigeria. Kogolo said that many of the children he played in the Bronx were ...


Mercado, Albert, Mercado, Albert. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Mercado, Albert, Mercado, Albert. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

When he was young in the Bronx he says it was a lovely area. There was a good mix of groups, but “everyone got along.” After junior high, he attended Art and Design in Manhattan, but he experienced prejudice there Latinos or African-Americans were in the minority there, so he transferred to Manhattan Vocational Tech. He stayed there a year but left because there was a lot of gang activity. He then attended DeWitt Clinton. He lived in the Bronx and the area had become very dilapidated - “it looked like if someone ran through there and just bombed it up ...


Cruz, Marilyn, Cruz, Marilyn. Bronx African American History Project Nov 2005

Cruz, Marilyn, Cruz, Marilyn. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Marilyn Cruz

Interviewer: Dr. Mark Naison, Princess Okieme, Andrew Tiedt

Date of Interview Novermber 3, 2005

Summarized by Alice Stryker

Marilyn was born in Harlem. Her mother’s family immigrated to Harlem from Barbados and her father’s family was from the south. She grew up attending St. Ambrosse church, which was attended by many people from the Caribbean. While in Harlem, she attended PS 113 for grade school and remembers playing in Central Park.

The Basian side of her family was very mixed. She believes her great-grandfather may have been white, but she is unsure. The family really ...


Owens, Jimmy Interview 1, Owens, Jimmy. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Oct 2005

Owens, Jimmy Interview 1, Owens, Jimmy. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

No abstract provided.


Davidson, Jessie, Davidson, Jessie. Bronx African American History Project Sep 2005

Davidson, Jessie, Davidson, Jessie. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Davidson speaks extensively of is childhood. He grew up in the Bronx and moved around quite a bit. His mother was a homemaker while his father worker at the local post office. In addition to be a postal worker, Davidsons father was also a community activist as well as the founder of the local Bronx NAACP and the newspaper “The Listener”.

Davidson recalls a racially harmonious neighborhood in which he lived. However, the surrounding neighborhoods were fraught with racial tension and animus. He describes a tense relationship between blacks and police officers in these neighborhoods. According to Davidson, two or ...


Fleet, James, Fleet, James. Bronx African American History Project Aug 2005

Fleet, James, Fleet, James. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

The Fleet family moved to the Patterson Houses in the Bronx in the fall of 1956 from Harlem. He says growing up there provided for a very healthy and nurturing childhood. His father, Bittie Fleet a noted jazz musician, abandoned his music career in the early 1950’s to work in a department store, while his mother stayed at home with the children.

He had been aware of his father’s jazz career from an early age. He learned to play on his own, without lessons of any form. His claim to fame is that he was the person who ...


Mincy, Kenneth, African & African American Studies Department. Kenneth Mincy Aug 2005

Mincy, Kenneth, African & African American Studies Department. Kenneth Mincy

Oral Histories

Kenneth Mincy grew up in the Patterson Houses in the late 1950’s. He felt very safe and loved. His mother was a nurse’s aid at a local hospital and while she was working a woman from their building would come up and watch him. Although there were many ethnicities in the building he lived in, everyone helped each other in taking care of the children.

He tells an interesting story about riding and studying subway maps at 4 years old. By this time, he was already and avid reader and feeling bored with his education in kindergarten. Because ...


Brown, Donald, Brown, Donald. Bronx African American History Project Aug 2005

Brown, Donald, Brown, Donald. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Dr. Donald Brown

Interviewer: Dr. Brian Purnell

Summarized by: Estevan Román

Dr. Donald Brown was born on February 4th, 1948 at Morissania Hospital in the Bronx. His mother Lula Moore is from Athens, Georgia or actually a town just outside Athens named Whitehall. His father was named Robert Brown is from Charleston, South Carolina. His parents were thirteen years apart in age. He mentions that his mother was previously married with three other kids and he would meet them a few years later at his mother’s funeral. His father did not like Charleston because of the racism ...


Sall, Gilda, Bronx Interview: Bronx African American History Project Aug 2005

Sall, Gilda, Bronx Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Gilda Sall, originally from Harlem, moved to the Soundview section of the Bronx with her mother at the age of six. Unhappy with the education that her daughter was receiving in Harlem, Sall’s mother moved to the city’s northernmost borough, which many still considered to be almost suburban at the time. Sall tells of her first impressions of the Bronx as clean, different from the city from where she came, and overall a beautiful community in which to live.

After attending P.S. 77 and M.S. 123, Sall participated in the College Bound program at Monroe High ...


Martin, Delores, Martin, Delores. Bronx African American History Project Aug 2005

Martin, Delores, Martin, Delores. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Delores Martin was interviewed August 9th 2005 by Mark Niason. Martin was very active in the Doo Wop Bronx scene during the 1950s. Her father was a tailor and her mother a dietician. She and her family moved to the Bronx in 1941. Martin remembers a safe and happy childhood. She explained that it was safe to play on the streets, as the neighborhood parents would watch over them.

Martin explains that music was an important part of her home life. R&B and Gospel were the two prominent genres played in her house. Martin never had formal signing instruction, however, she did perform solos at her mother’s church. She would frequent the Apollo Theatre and The Blue Morocco to see performances and listen to music. Martin would also venture into Manhattan for the nightlife.

Martin lived in a predominantly black neighborhood; however, the high school in which she attended, Morris High, was racially diverse. Martin was an active ...


Ramsey, Andrea, Ramsey, Andrea. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Aug 2005

Ramsey, Andrea, Ramsey, Andrea. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Her grandparents moved to the Bronx from Harlem in the 1950’s and were immigrants from Barbados. Many of their friends from the Caribbean were moving to the Bronx, and they moved along with them to Union Avenue. Andrea was born in Harlem and then moved to the Bronx when she was very young to Tinton Avenue with her parents. There were many other Caribbean families in her life and she does not recall people from certain islands segregating themselves from the rest of the community. She and her family attended St. Augustine Church, which was Presbyterian. She remembers the ...


Pruitt, Henry, Pruitt, Henry. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Aug 2005

Pruitt, Henry, Pruitt, Henry. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewer: Mark Naison, Rachel Donaldson

Interviewee: Henry Pruitt

Date: 8/3/05

Summarized by Salmaan Khan on 3/11/07

Henry Pruitt grew up in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. He speaks in depth of the environment of the Bronx and how he experienced it growing up. His first memory of going to the park or the beach in the Bronx is of Crotona Park in the 40’s and 50’s when he was in elementary school. In 1943, Henry began going to Camp Minisink, where he learned fishing in a catfish pond. He was taught important skills ...


Gregg, Earnest, Gregg, Earnest. Bronx African American History Project Jul 2005

Gregg, Earnest, Gregg, Earnest. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Ernest Greg’s family moved from the South, to Atlantic City, to the Bronx in the 1930’s. The family came to the Morrisania section of the Bronx because Greg’s father was a Pullman porter. The family lived in a five-story walk-up until Ernest was about 12 on 169th street. He remembers his block as being predominately black, but Park Avenue, which was close by, as being ethnically diverse. He also remembers feeling very safe in that neighborhood. All of the adults looked out for the children.

When he was 12, the family moved to the newly opened Castle ...


Jackson, Jack, Jackson, Jack. Bronx African American History Project Jun 2005

Jackson, Jack, Jackson, Jack. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewer: Mark Naison

Interviewee: Jack Johnson

Summarized By: Eddie Mikus

Jack Johnson is an attorney at Proskauer and Rose who attended Fordham in the 1970s after growing up in the Bronx. Much of his interview focused on how he experienced the differences between African-American and white cultures during his youth and college days.

Johnson moved to Bronx from Harlem at the age of eight years old. He says that while his elementary school was predominately African-American, there were more white people than Latinos. The same makeup held through when he attended junior high school due to his being placed on ...


Brath, Elombe, Brath, Elombe. Bronx African American History Project Jun 2005

Brath, Elombe, Brath, Elombe. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewers: Mark Naison, Maxine Gordon

Interviewee: Elombe Brath

Date of interview: 21 June, 2005

Summarized by: Craig Teal, 26 March 2007

Elombe Brath is a longtime political activist in New York City who is one of the founders of the Jazz Arts Society and was active in organizing some of the first cultural pageants in New York City in the 1960s. Born on September 30, 1936 in Brooklyn, Elombe grew up in Harlem and in Hunt’s Point on 751 Kelly Street between Longwood Avenue and 156th Street. His family moved into a crossroads area of the Bronx that ...


Johnson, Robert, Johnson, Robert. Bronx African American History Project Jun 2005

Johnson, Robert, Johnson, Robert. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Interviewee: Robert Johnson

Interviewers: Mark Naison, Brian Purnell, Natasha Lightfoot, Claude Magnum, Maxine Gordon, and Peter Derrick

Summarized by Alice Stryker

Robert Johnson the Bronx District Attorney, was born in the Bronx, but moved to the Amsterdam houses shortly after he was born. His father was a clerk in the United States Post Office and his mother was a stay at home mom when they were growing up, but moved on to a number of positions once her children had matured. Their house was not very political.

His father was Catholic and his mother was Episcopalian. He and his brother ...


Marshall, Gloria And Ronald, Marshall, Gloria And Ronald. Bronx African American History Project May 2005

Marshall, Gloria And Ronald, Marshall, Gloria And Ronald. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Ronald’s parents moved north during the Great Migration in the 1930’s. His father got a job with the US Postal Service at a New York Post Office and heard that the Bronx was a nice place to live, so he decided to move the family to 3rd Avenue in the Bronx. From 3rd avenue, the family moved to Union Avenue between 166th and 167th. Gloria’s family moved from Manhattan to the Bronx in the early 1940’s to Franklin Avenue between 167th and 168th. Her family moved to the Bronx because ...


Singleton, David G., Singleton, David G. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Apr 2005

Singleton, David G., Singleton, David G. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

David Singleton was born May 5th 1935 in mid Sacramento Valley. He was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. He applied and was accepted into Princeton Theological Seminary. While at Princeton, he served as a student in multi-racial situations in East Trenton and in West Philadelphia. He was eventually placed at Sound view Presbyterian Church in the Bronx in 1963 per the recommendation of a minister he had met while serving at Richard Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Singleton met Medgar Evers and participated in the civil rights movement in Birmingham Alabama. He had a few church connections there. He ...


Brown, Rosemary, Brown, Rosemary. Bronx African American History Project Apr 2005

Brown, Rosemary, Brown, Rosemary. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Rosemary Brown, a civil rights activist and long-time Bronx resident, was interviewed for the Bronx African American History Project on April 21, 2005. Rosemary Brown and her large family of eight (eventually nine) first moved from Harlem to 1319 Prospect Ave. at the corner of 168th Street in 1940, when the Bronx was an especially good place for African American families, because it offered schools, better apartments, safer conditions, and a community where everyone looked out for each other. Prospect Ave. was a tree-lined block where children could play outside, and had residents of various races. The integrated community ...


Moss, Daphne, Moss, Daphne. Interview: Bronx African American History Project Apr 2005

Moss, Daphne, Moss, Daphne. Interview: Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Daphne Moss has been a nurse, an educator and a community activist in the Bronx. Her parents both came from Jamaica and met while out dancing in the 20s. They started out in Harlem before coming to the Bronx. Her parents lived on Prospect Avenue and then ended up on Simpson set by the time she was born in 47. Her father had many jobs while growing up; Daphne describes him as a handy man. Her mother on the other hand was a homemaker with seven children. Her father passed away in 1954 when she was 7.

While growing up ...


Gumbs, Robert Interview 2, Gumbs, Robert. Bronx African American History Project Apr 2005

Gumbs, Robert Interview 2, Gumbs, Robert. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

The session begins with a quick recap of the questions asked in the first interview. From there, Robert discusses Freemen Theater. The theater was small and in walking distance from his house. During the day, the theater played movies and in the evening housed concerts. The audience was mainly African American and Jewish.

Dave Womack was one of the first artists to have an impact on him. When he was in High School, he started a jazz music appreciation day. Students would bring in a variety of artists’ albums, many of which he liked. The first jazz club he went ...


Ketcham, Malik And Rose, Ketcham, Malik And Rose. Bronx African American History Project Apr 2005

Ketcham, Malik And Rose, Ketcham, Malik And Rose. Bronx African American History Project

Oral Histories

Dorothy moved to the Patterson Houses in 1950 from Brooklyn. At the time, she was married with two children. They saw moving to Patterson as a stepping-stone to greater things. Rose also moved there in 1950 from Queens with one child. Both of these families were part of the first group to live in the new projects. People were very friendly. The husbands would go to work and the mothers would go to a play yard and socialize. The building was also very safe.

Dorothy and Rose’s children went to Catholic school. Dorothy’s at St. Rita’s and ...