In response to the need for black leadership and community building, Bronx Community College president Dr. Roscoe Brown, Jr. once declared “We must be united!”

We Must Be United” explores and celebrates BCC-CUNY as a center of Black activism.

The project was first initiated in Fall 2014 by Dr. Ahmed Reid (History) and Dr. Prithi Kanakamedala (History) with generous support from the Provost’s Office at Bronx Community College CUNY (BCC) under Dr. Claudia Schrader’s leadership. Dr. Kanakamedala oversaw curation and writing, and completed archival research at BCC Library and Archives. Professor Cynthia Tobar (Library) provided archival expertise and digitization of archival materials. The project included a physical exhibit on display in BCC’s cafeteria as part of Black History Month 2015, relevant public programming, and a digital site (seen here).

Since then, Dr. Kanakamedala continues to research Bronx Community College CUNY as a site of Black activism — an institution built by communities of color for communities of color in the Bronx. An essay is forthcoming with Clemson University Press.

2014/ 2015 Project Conception & Exhibit Installation: Dr. Ahmed Reid, Assistant Professor, History, BCC & Dr. Prithi Kanakamedala, Assistant Professor, History, BCC.
Research & Curation: Dr. Kanakamedala
Archival & Digitization Support: Cynthia Tobar, Archivist & Technology Services Librarian/ Assistant Professor, BCC.

Dr. Ahmed N. Reid is an Assistant Professor of History at Bronx Community College (CUNY). He holds the BA degree in History from the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, and the Ph.D. in History from the University of Hull, England. His research interests include Caribbean Economic and Social History, Comparative Slavery in the Americas, and the Atlantic Slave Trade. Dr. Reid has been invited to speak at the UN’s Working Group for People of African Descent in Geneva, Switzerland. He is the author and co-author of several articles, the most recent being “Sugar, Land Markets and the Williams Thesis: Evidence from Jamaica’s Property Sales, 1750-1810,” in Slavery and Abolition, vol. 34, 3 (2013): 401-424 (co-author David Ryden), and “West Indian Economic Decline” in Oxford Bibliographies in Atlantic History. ed. Trevor Burnard. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. [ahmed dot reid at bcc dot cuny dot edu]

Dr. Prithi Kanakamedala is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at Bronx Community College – City University of New York. As a public historian she has worked for Place Matters (part of City Lore), Brooklyn Historical Society, Weeksville Heritage Center & Irondale Ensemble Project.  She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex and is originally from Liverpool, England. [prathibha dot kanakamedala at bcc dot cuny dot edu]

Cynthia Tobar is an Archivist/Assistant Professor at Bronx Community College’s Library, where she is establishing their first Archive and Oral History program.  She previously managed the 100 Puerto Ricans Oral History Project at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, has collaborated with the Occupy Wall Street Archives Working Group, and worked with the Brooklyn Historical Society as an interviewer on the “Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations” oral history project. Cynthia is also the founder of the Welfare Rights Initiative Oral History Project, which is documenting the Welfare Rights Initiative (WRI), a grassroots student activist and community leadership training organization located at Hunter College. [cynthia dot tobar at bcc dot cuny dot edu]

With thanks to: colleagues in the History Department and colleagues in the Library, Pina Martinelli, Lakisha Williams, Daniel Schnur, Ayechia Perez, Meredith Knoll-Duncan.

This project has been developed by faculty in the History Department and Library at Bronx Community College. It is not an official publication of Bronx Community College or the City University of New York. 

Check out CUNY Digital History Archive – a project led by American Social History Project/ Center for Media & Learning documenting the history of the City University of New York through its own archives. “We Must Stand United” and all archival photos included in this site are also available at the following link: http://cdha.commons.gc.cuny.edu/