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About Mark Naison

Mark Naison is Professor of History and African American Studies at Fordham University. He is the author of five books and over 200 articles on African American politics, labor history, popular culture and education policy. Dr. Naison is the founder of the Bronx African American History Project, one of the largest community based oral history projects in the nation and brought his research into more than 30 Bronx schools before his community history programs were pushed out by school closings and test based ratings of schools and teachers. A co-founder of the Bronx Berlin Youth exchange, Naison’s articles about Bronx music and Bronx culture have been published in German, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese as well as English and he recently published a novel, Pure Bronx, co-written with his former student Melissa Castillo-Garsow. Naison has a long history of activism beginning with the Congress of Racial Equality and Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960’s, through community organizing initiatives in Brooklyn and Bronx neighborhoods, through more recent activity connected to the Occupy movement and the defense of public education. He comments regularly on education issues through his blog, withabrooklynaccent.blogspot.com as well as on LA Progressive, History News Network, The Washington Post “Answer Sheet,” He has founded or co-founded three education activist sites on Facebook -“Dump Duncan,” “Occupy Teach for America” and the wildly successful “Badass Teachers Association.” Dr Naison also comments regularly for the BK Nation Blog on Education and Politics.
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The O’Reilly Factor: A Remembrance

By Mark Naison Now that Bill O’Reilly is off the air, I think it is time I provide an account of my appearance on The O’Reilly Factor, since the tape of the episode I appeared on is nowhere to be …
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My Love Letter to Immigrant Working-Class New York

By Mark Naison I may live in Artisanal Park Slope, but I feel most at home in immigrant working-class New York. A child of the 1950s, I grew up in  in Lower Crown Heights, sometimes known as “Pigtown,” inhabi...

Thank You, Mr. President: An Ambivalent Retrospective

By Mark Naison I campaigned hard for President Obama in 2008, cried tears of joy when he was elected, and yet found myself in almost immediate opposition to many of his policies–not all of which could be blamed on ...
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Not All of Brooklyn is Gentrified

By Mark Naison Today, while driving home to Brooklyn from Eastern Long Island, I ran into a traffic jam on the Belt Parkway. I decided to get off at Rockaway Parkway and go to Park Slope via a route familiar …

Death of an Icon

By Mark Naison I just received an email from one of my students informing me that Muhammad Ali passed at the age of 74. I feel empty inside. Ali reinvented what it meant to be an athlete in American society, …
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R.I.P. Ramon Jimenez: Conscience of the Bronx

By Mark Naison I just learned that Ramon Jimenez, one of the most dedicated and effective defenders of the poor and powerless who ever graced our city, passed away. What a great loss for all of us. I first met … <...

A Family Mourns for Prince

By Mark Naison Word of Prince’s passing stunned me. I loved his innovative, boundary-shattering music, which combined so many traditions and genres and how his videos toyed with conventional images of race and gender. Wi...
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My Neighborhood: A Look Back

By Mark Naison When Liz and I moved to Park Slope in 1976, the neighborhood still bore scars of a decade of disinvestment exacerbated by the city’s fiscal crisis. Abandoned buildings dotted 7th Avenue south of 9th ...