Pioneers of Bronx Black History

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This February, for Black History month, Fordham News has showcased the inspiring lives of Bronx activists Beatrice Bergland, Vincent Harding, Hetty Fox, and Morgan Powell. All four of them shared their personal stories with our researchers in Fordham’s Bronx African American History Project (BAAHP).

 

Beatrice Bergland

A Prison Lieutenant’s Quiet Activism

Beatrice Bergland’s childhood memories of the Bronx are bittersweet. She remembers walking down 170th Street with her grandfather and collecting food samples from the storekeepers. She also remembers the years of being chased home from school by the white children, and the day her grandfather’s life was brutally ended, perhaps for no other reason than having been black…

VincentHarding1078

Bronx Diversity Molds a Civil Rights Champion

Vincent Harding was proud to be from New York, and as he got older he looked back fondly on his years at a richly diverse high school in the Bronx. “He had classmates from Eastern Europe, from Italy, from Ireland, from parts of Asia—just lots of different places in the world,” said his daughter, Rachel Harding, PhD. The experience “gave him a grounding and commitment” to seeing a true multicultural democracy take hold in America, she said…

Photos by Patrick Verel

Hetty Fox, Portrait of a Tireless Activist

The block-long, slightly sloping one-way street in Foxhurst in the Bronx is technically known as Lyman Place.
But come summertime, it may as well be known as “Play Street Boulevard,” or, perhaps, “Hetty Fox Lane.” That’s because Fox, whose family moved to the neighborhood in 1940 when she was 3 years old has been a near-constant presence in the neighborhood. She has also been a driving force behind a 40-year tradition of periodically closing the street to traffic and opening it up for children to play…

Morgan Powell

Morgan Powell, the Late Historian Continues to Inspire

From boat clubs on the Hudson to the living rooms of the Grand Concourse to environmental justice meetings in Brooklyn, New Yorkers still talk about the research and activism of the late Morgan Powell, the self-trained historian who combined environmental justice with black history…

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