New York – Rep. José Serrano, whose district encompasses much of the Bronx, celebrated the Bronx African-American History Project on the floor of the House of Representatives. In a March 7 speech, Serrano praised the project, a collaborative effort of the Bronx County Historical Society and Fordham’s Department of African and African American Studies, as instrumental in documenting and preserving the Bronx’s “rich and beautiful history.”
Serrano’s speech came on the heels of a March 4 concert in Fordham’s McGinley Center Ballroom to benefit the project. Nearly 700 people celebrated the musical traditions of the Bronx and honored the memory of the late singer, songwriter and community activist, Arthur Crier Jr.
Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion declared March 4, 2005, “Morissania Appreciation Day” during his opening remarks, referring to the historic Bronx neighborhood that has been a focus of the project. Featured artists included Morissania doo-wop groups, The Chords, The Clickettes, and Lillian Leach and the Mellows; jazz legend Jimmy Owens and his Quartet; and music by Pete DJ Jones.
“The evening showed the fundamental unity of all great music and its power to unify people of diverse backgrounds,” said Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor of African and African American studies and the director of Urban Studies Program at Fordham, who created the Bronx African American History Project.
“I have taught at Fordham for nearly 35 years and only dared to dream that the walls between the University and the surrounding community would come down,” said Naison. “Everyone at Fordham, from our University President, Joseph M. McShane, on down, made the people of the Bronx feel welcomed on our campus.”
The Bronx African-American History Project was created to document the history of people of African descent in the Bronx. The project is a collaborative effort of the Bronx County Historical Society and Fordham’s Department of African and African American Studies.