African American Studies
Christopher Hayes was born in February of 1789. He is a journalist whose work deals with those living in the Bronx and the economic challenges that face them. Hayes grew up in the Bronx to a Jesuit father and a first generation Italian mother. His father traveled and worked in Peru and at the University of Detroit before settling down at Fordham. His father was also a community organizer. His mother grew up in the Bronx, near the Fordham rose hill campus. She attended Lehman College. It is here where his mother and father met one another, sparked a friendship and eventually married.
Hayes has one brother who is about 4 and half years younger than he is. Hayes lived on Wayne Avenue for 11 years of his life before moving to a small house in Riverdale. He attended P.S. 83 in the gifted program and then I.S. 181 before being accepted to Hunter in the city. While at Hunter he describes a totally different environment that caused him to envy his friends who lived and frolicked in the city. Throughout high school, Hayes said he would rarely spend time home and was thus incredibly alienated from Bronx life.
Overall, Hayes claims he had a very happy childhood. He was aware of the violence and turbulence rocking the Bronx during the early part of his childhood but only with regards to how he watched the adults react to the violence. He acknowledges hearing gun shots, finding empty crack vials in public spaces and seeing a constant news cycle of the devastations consuming the Bronx. However, he never felt unsafe and was even allowed to walk to friends’ houses and the local comic stores. Indeed, it was only when Hayes began to attend school in the city that he felt unsafe. He describes being an easy target in certain areas on his commute to school. He claims to have been physically assaulted no more than two times, but having his things taken from him by muggers.
After high school, Hayes attended Brown University. Hayes talks extensively of economics and politics and the measures he thinks are necessary to alleviate poverty in the Bronx. Hayes believes that people who work in low level paying jobs ought to be given access to healthcare and a livable wage, one that would allow them to save money, and send their kids to college. He criticizes the constant rhetoric in favor of better schools. Hayes also talks a bit about Mayor Giuliani, the broken window policy, stop and frisk, and the decrease of violence and murder in the New York City as a whole and the Bronx at a micro level.
Hayes, Christopher. Interview with the Bronx African American History Project. BAAHP Digital Archive at Fordham University.
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