African American Studies
Ed Tucker’s family moved to New York shortly after WWII, his father was a veteran. Ed was born inMorrisaniaHospitalin 1943 and the family lived onProspect Avenue. His father was a cab driver, for the most part. John Mcgilcrest’s family, both sides from Jamaica, moved to New York after WWI. His father worked at a fragrance factory and was part of the Teamsters. Ron Nelson’s family moved to the Bronx during WWII fromHarlem.
The neighborhood Nelso lived in was mostly Jewish, whereas John and Ed were growing up in a neighborhood that was mostly Africa-American. All of them boys went to St. Anthony’s. The community thought the school provided a better education than the public schools. They went to school with girls who later became the Chantells. They do not remember children making fun of them for wearing a uniform or going to a Catholic school. There was a lot of pride in going to that school. Many of their friends from school went to college. However, many of the “ruffians” did not and became cops or city workers.
As kids, the boys not only had friends at St. Anthony’s, but also from their neighborhood. These friends would play street games together and watch TV. They also describe the music scene in their neighborhoods. Ron studied music for a little with a woman inManhattan. At the time Latin music was making its way into the mainstream. Rock’n Roll and calypso were also popular.
John remembers that his parents were his main inspiration for going to college. The staff at St. Anthony’s was also helpful in encouraging them to go to college.
No one remembers a violent presence of gangs. They were there, but if you did not bother them, they would not bother you. If the High Schools they attended found out they were in a gang, they would be expelled. Cardinal Hayes was a more diverse high school and was much larger.
Ron initially went to CCNY and then went to Hillsdale in theMidwestfor college. John went to Iona College then fought in Vietnam. Ed went from Fordham Prep to Fordham University.
In the sixties and seventies, Ron noticed that the area began to deteriorate because of drugs. Ron and Ed ended up working for the New York State Narcotic Emission Control Commission. In 1966, when Ron came back from school, there were no yellow cabs coming to the Bronx. Shortly thereafter, all three of them tried to move their parents out of the Bronx because of how bad the area had become.
Tucker, Ed. Interview with the Bronx African American History Project. BAAHP Digital Archive at Fordham University.
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