Mark Naison

Mark Naison

Mark Naison

Mark Naison is a Professor of African-American Studies and History at Fordham University and Director of Fordham’s Urban Studies Program. He is the author of three books and over 100 articles on African-American History, urban history, and the history of sports. His most recent book White Boy: A Memoir, published in the Spring of 2002, was reviewed in the New York Times, the Nation and the Chronicle of Higher Education and was the subject of feature stories on Black Entertainment Television, New York One News and the Tavis Smiley show on National Public Radio. One of his most popular courses at Fordham, “From Rock and Roll to Hip Hop: Urban Youth Cultures in Post War America” has also received media attention, becoming the subject of stories on National Public Radio, Bronx Net, and WFUV. His most recent course, “Feeling the Funk: Research Seminar on Music of the African Diaspora” focuses on Latin and Caribbean traditions on American Popular Music.

The Bronx African-American History Project, Dr Naison’s most recent venture, was launched collaboratively with the Bronx Historical Society in the Fall of 2002 ( see Project website www.fordham.edu/baahp). Since that time, Dr Naison has conducted over one hundred and fifty interviews with African-American professionals, community activists, business leaders and musicians who grew up in Bronx between the 1930’s and the 1980’s. The first product of this research ” It Takes a Village to Raise a Child: Growing Up in the Patterson Houses in the 1950’s- An Interview With Victoria Archibald Good” was published in the Spring 2003 issue of the Bronx County Historical Journal and a second article “From Doo Wop to Hip Hop: The Bittersweet Odyssey of African Americans in the South Bronx” was published in the Spring 2004 issue of that journal. Naison has also begun working on two books related to the BAAHP, a collection of oral histories entitled “Before the Fires: An Oral History of African American Life From the 1930’s to the 1960’s, ” and a memoir written by Allen Jones entitled “The Rat That Got Away.”

When not doing historical research, Naison likes to play tennis, golf and basketball, and make periodic forays into the media. He has appeared on the O’Reilly Factor, the Discovery Channel’s Greatest American Competition (as Dr King’s advocate), and on the Dave Chappell Show, where his “performance” has been preserved on that show’s Second Year DVD.

You can also see also Dr Naison’s blog, “With a Brooklyn Accent.”

Two Key Areas Where the President Ignores Historical Trends

By Mark Naison (June 5, 2018) Two key areas where President Trump either distorts historical trends or cynically presents false information for political gain are the following: First, the notion that our “ inner cities are plagued by crime” and face a terrible crisis which liberals have ignored. If this was 1995, those remarks might have been relevant, but in...
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What Makes Me Feel Unsafe in My Hood

By Laila Nur (June 1, 2018) The gun shots in my hood don’t make feel unsafe. The drunk yelling match at 2am between neighbors don’t make me feel unsafe. The random ass dogs running up and down the street don’t make me feel unsafe. The sex workers on the corner (who mean mug me on the daily lol) don’t make...
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Even My Hate Mail Reveals White Privilege

By Mark Naison (April 30, 2018) My Black friends have always told me “Mark, if you were Black, saying the things you do, acting the way you do, you would have been dead a long time ago.” If you think they were exaggerating, read the article in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the death threats and insults the African...
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A License to Insult

By Mark Naison (April 20, 2018) I just had a conversation about the Trump Presidency with a Fordham professor who commands great respect in the Bronx. An immigrant from East Africa, she sees the greatest damage inflicted by the President not in the area of policy, but in how he encourages people who support him to speak disrespectfully to people...
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Immigrants, Not Donald Trump, "Made New York Great Again"

By Mark Naison (April 18, 2018) Donald Trump thinks he is the right person to “Make America Great” because he imagines he was responsible for New York’s revival after the Fiscal Crisis of the 70’s. But when you closely examine commerce in city neighborhoods outside of Manhattan, you realize that the very people Trump is attacking–IMMIGRANTS–are the ones who did...
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We've Let Employers Set the Terms of the Labor Debate

By Irami Osei-Frimpong (April 10, 2018) We’ve let employers dictate the terms of the labor debate. Forget the skills mismatch. There is a wage mismatch, and when wages aren’t pegged to cost of living increases, it’s a bit ridiculous. I first noticed it when I heard some older cat harangue a kid for not working their way through college like...
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Why Teachers are Rising

By Mark Naison (April 3, 2018) For the last twenty years, beating on teachers has been the national pastime, as popular among Democrats as Republicans, among liberals as conservatives. Teachers have been the nation’s most convenient scapegoat for rapidly rising levels of inequality and have been the target of an immense array of accountability measures which funnel profits to test...
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Wakandans are not Black and Killmonger is Right

By Tommy J. Curry (February 20, 2018) It is so funny to me how all these commentaries on Black Panther are coming out without really any understanding of the MCU. Black people love pretending they are overnight specialists in anything Black. You do understand that if you accept the existence of Wakanda, you also accept the existence of mutants like...
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On a National Suicide Path

By Mark Naison (February 16, 2018) The way I see it, this country is on a suicide path. First of all, the people shaping education policy in this country, during the last twenty years, have done everything possible to create more wounded children like Nikolaus Cruz; They have deluged schools with standardized tests that squeeze every ounce of joy out...
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On the Spousal Abusers in the White House

By Mark Naison (February 13, 2018) Sexual and physical abuse is something which crosses lines of class and race and ideology- it is not something that can be placed at the feet of any one occupational group or political party. Nevertheless, it is telling that two high level figures in the Trump White House who were close to the President,...
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The Price of Upward Mobility

By Mark Naison (February 8, 2018) The people I grew up among in Crown Heights Brooklyn, second generation Italian Americans and Jews, were just getting a little breathing space in 1950’s America after being beaten down most of their lives by poverty and discrimination. Many were convinced that the country would never really accept or respect people like them, but...
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Against the Fascist Creep: Talk by Alexander Reid Ross

In March 2017, author Alexander Reid Ross visited the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures to describe the way in which fascism as intellectual movement draws on a variety of traditions, both from the right and left.  In that way, it can infiltrate many different social movements from within.  His latest book is Against the Fascist Creep from AK Press (2017)...
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The Shame of the Nation

By Mark Naison (January 12, 2018) “We’re letting in people from Shithole countries” Just the latest outrageous comment from Donald Trump, and one of the most damaging. Make no mistake about it, if you are an American of color, the message is coming across that your President despises you and thinks people like you do more to undermine the nation...
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A Message to Young People on Confronting Unexpected Hardships in the Trump Era

By Mark Naison (December 20, 2017) During the course of my long life, I have had to cope with three completely unexpected tragedies- the Vietnam War, the burning of the Bronx, and the crack epidemic. In each of these instances, immense suffering ensued that required years, if not decades to recover from, while millions of people suffered injuries from which...
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"Is your friend pretty?" #Metoo in the Context of Capitalism and Racism

By Alexander Reid Ross, Teka Lark, and Mark Naison (November 28, 2017) Several Anarres Project regular contributors recently reflected on the uprising against sexual harassment/assault/abuse in the political and entertainment worlds.  Together, they tied the issue to broader concerns about socialization under patriarchy, the imperatives of capitalism, and white supremacy.   Alexander Reid Ross: The more celebrities exposed as inveterate...
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Why is the Left Silent on the War Ripping Mexico Apart?

By Chuck Morse (August 31, 2017) I am mostly optimistic when I think about the American left these days. While Trump’s election signals the right’s ascendancy, it also indicates a broader crisis in the system and the intensification of a fight that we have to have—an inescapable, unavoidable battle that we might lose, but might win! When he singled out...
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Millennials Are Not Dictatorship Material

By Mark Naison (August 27, 2017) If Fordham is Any Example, Millennials are Not Dictatorship Material One of the reasons I am confident that Donald Trump will not take us on the path to dictatorship or authoritarian rule is the refusal of young people to be intimidated by authoritarian figures in their lives, be they parents, teachers, or school and...
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Why We Need Freedom Schools Now

(Photo of Bronx Freedom School meeting:  photo by Mark Naison) By Mark Naison (July 27, 2017) This summer, I decided to use the Freedom School model from the civil rights movement to promote solidarity among people looking for inspiration and direction, in part out of frustration with the many social media groups that I participated in and in some cases...
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Where the Evidence Leads on Trump's Election

By Mark Naison (July 6, 2017)   Historians are detectives. We follow the evidence to arrive at the best available explanation of why events take place. And to me, the trail of evidence to explain Donald Trump’s election doesn’t lead to Russia, it leads us into the inner workings of the Democratic Party- who leads it, who funds it, what...
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How the Democratic Party Fatally Damaged Itself by Attacking Public Education

By Mark Naison (June 27, 2017) Ever since the Clinton Presidency, the Democratic Party has been an advocate of top-down school reforms whose goal has been to make the nation more economically competitive and reduce inequality. Not only have these policies failed to achieve their stated objectives, they have destabilized communities where Democrats have traditionally found support, created widespread distress...
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Why the Trump Administration Scandals Should Be No Surprise to New Yorkers

By Mark Naison (May 10, 2017) No one familiar with the history of New York City should be surprised by the scandals that have beset the Trump Administration. No one, I repeat no one, could have had the success Donald Trump had in putting up building after building in New York City during the 1970’s and 1980’s without having ties...
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The Link Between Broken Windows Policing and Deportation

By Mark Naison (March 30, 2017) Of all the new information presented during last nights forum on Defending Bronx Communities at Fordham University, what I found most disturbing was the revelation of how the DeBlasio Administration’s imposition of “Broken Windows” policing- arrests for minor offenses such as jaywalking, drinking in public and jumping over turnstiles- has led to deportation of...
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The Little Department That Could: An Inspiring Story from Fordham

By Mark Naison (February 10, 2017) My department- the Department of African and African American Studies- was not supposed to last. it was created as an Institute in 1969 as a result of a student sit in at the Fordham administration building by a committee of Black graduate students and undergraduates who were given power to hire faculty and in...
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When There Really Was 'Carnage in Our Inner Cities', Trump Was Nowhere to Be Found

By Mark Naison (February 4, 2017)   One of the many reasons I am appalled by Donald Trump’s world view are his comments about subjects I know first hand. A prime example of this is his apocalyptic promise to end “carnage in our inner inner cities.” Not only do these pronouncement ignore gentrification and the suburbanization of poverty, they come...
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Trump is Setting the Stage for a Much Worse Regime

By Chuck Morse (January 28, 2017) It’s tempting to see Trump’s attacks on the media and the democratic system (voting) as an expression of his self-sabotaging vanity, but I think we’re seeing something much more malevolent. I think he’s setting the stage for his re-election in four years and the assertion of a much more violent, racist regime. That is,...
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