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Bronx H.S. Students Make, Study History in Innovative Program


BRONX, NEW YORK—The History Makers, a program that teaches Bronx high school students how to perform professional-level historical research in the city’s archives, libraries and museums, debuted in July at Fordham University. The six-week program nurtures critical thinking and analytical skills in young people, preparing them to succeed in completing a competitive liberal arts college curriculum, and culminates in a public presentation of the students’ research at the Rose Hill campus on August 3.

Twenty-three high school participants will work on the University campus in classrooms and the library, and spend the last week of the program living on campus in a residence hall, to familiarize them with the academic and social aspects of college life. The students will also walk the streets of the Morissania section of the Bronx, exploring the lost history of one of the borough’s most vibrant African American neighborhoods; visit the Bronx County and Brooklyn Historical Societies; and learn the history of the Brooklyn Bridge and how it changed New York City and immigrant life in the 1900s.

Having learned how to conduct research using oral history, archival records and analysis of material culture, the students will collaborate in small groups to present their work on some aspect of Bronx history on Thursday, August 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the McGinley Center Faculty Lounge, Rose Hill campus.Following the program’s completion, some artifacts from participants’ research may go on public display at the Bronx County Historical Society or a similar venue.

The History Makers program, made possible by a generous grant from the Teagle Foundation, is a collaboration between the University’s Community Service Program and African and African American Studies Department, and the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), a nonprofit settlement house that runs a youth enrichment program for college-bound teenagers in the Bronx. The program is run by Brian Purnell, Ph.D., adjunct professor of African and African American Studies and research director of the Bronx African-American History Project, with the help of Fordham University student mentors. The Teagle Foundation may fund the program for at least another two years if the University and CAB agree to continue it.


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