As it has been mentioned in another post I have published before, the Bronx is one of the boroughs of New York City with the major population of black American People.
Because of that, Mark Naison, Director of the Urban Studies Program and Professor of African American Studies and History at Fordham University, decided to create a kind of document which could be considered as a primary source that covered all the oral tradition of this section of black people in the United States of America.
The Bronx African America History Project, known commonly as the BAAHP, is a history research chich’s soul and heart is an ongoing community based on the oral tradition that the black population of the Bronx hhave made during a lot of decades.
It talks about the role that black people played in the Bronx during the 1950s and 1960s and about the way in which 20th century blacks lived, learned, worked and interacted with other communities and diverse groups of neighbours such as West Indians.
It could also be considered to be a response to the growing number of requests for information on blacks made by the proper community of the Bronx, who considered that not having any document that captured all their oral tradition was in a way something that affected to their culture’s origin and heart.
Because of that, The Bronx African American History Project is the result of a hard work made by a team of historians and local leaders who tried to capture the imagination of that neglected section of New York black population.
So, Mark Naison, taking into account this temendous demand from Bronx’s community residents and taking into account also that being the Bronx the eight largest concentration of black Americans in the USA, decided to develop this project to put an end in a way to this attitude that many researchers had when talking about this section of the society. That is, as Bronx’s African people were marginalized by their poverty and by the skin colour also, archivists and researches tried to omit them from their research work and that lack of attention only served to marginalize them more and more placing them on the periphery of the American life.
As a consequence of all that, the BAAHP became into one of the main important sources about African people in the USA. It documents the experience of more than 500,000 people, and because of that, it has created a rich collection of primary sources that includes:
-250 oral interviews
-Thousands of records
-Personal manuscripts collections which talk about how the people of African descent influenced politically, civically and culturally in New York’s life during the 60s.
- Twomey, Bill. “The Bronx: In Bits and Pieces“. Edited by Rooftop Publishing, 2007.
- Harrison, Marina and Rosenfeld, Lucy. “Artwalks in New York: delightful discoveries of public art and gardens in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and State Island”, NYU Press, 2004.
- Jenkins, Stephen. “The Story of The Bronx: From the Purchase Made by the Dutch from the Indians in 1639 to the Present Day“. Heritage books, 2007.