African American Studies
Joan Morgan is the author of “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost’, activist, and doctoral student. She is of Jamaican descent. Her parents came to the United States and settled in the Bronx near Crotona Park. Her father was one of the founding members of the Jamaican Labor party; she calls the Bustamante's her “godparents.” He was also a member of the Jamaica Freedom League while in the Bronx.
While living on Fulton Avenue, Joan used to frequently go to Crotona Park because of the community center right by it, the Clermont Center. Her mother was an active member of the community center. She taught classes for adults and Joan took youth classes, like dancing. She recalls the community center as being essential for her character development as well as the development of other young children in the community. Joan describes growing up in the Bronx and being heavily influenced by hip-hop music. She recalls going to parties and being surrounded by the music and freestyles.
Morgan went to Fieldston, a private independent High School in New York City and then went to Wesley University. She proclaims herself to be a good student; she studied hard and excelled. She describes Fieldston as providing a great education; however, she notes that it was difficult navigating class more than race because even her black friends came from upper to middle class backgrounds. During her junior year at Wesley, she took a semester off and transferred to Howard University because she felt that Wesley was too similar to Fieldston. She credits this choice and experience as being incredibly useful for her understanding of black men.
Morgan ends with a discussion of gentrification and notes that both wealthy whites and wealthy blacks gentrify. Understanding the dynamics of class and or race when it comes to certain neighborhoods, she proclaims is essential to unfitting gentrification and the effects it has of communities.
Morgan, Joan. Interview with the Bronx African American History Project. Digital Archive at Fordham University.
Click below to download supplemental content.Morgan, Joan Part 1.wma (47147 kB)
Morgan, Joan Part 2.wma (36876 kB)