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Community Notes

Write for “Community Notes!” 

This space highlights the work of students, educators, activists, community members, and scholars who either live in The Bronx or have interest in Bronx history. We invite you to discuss and critically reflect on the digital items contained in this repository. Many of the items contained here shed unique light on the history and culture of our borough, not least because they highlight the lives, work, creativity, and political organizing of working-class communities of color in the Bronx.

“Community Notes” is a community effort! We invite you to contribute to any of the following categories, or propose your own. This collection is changing every day, and not every item is digitized. To get started, we invite you to look over the Research Guides. We also invite you to visit the archive in person and work with physical materials.

The Editors

Vani Kannan, Assistant Professor, Lehman College
Steven Payne, Librarian/Archivist, The Bronx County Historical Society

Submission Categories

Document Overview. Offer an overview of a specific source/document, and place it in historical context.

  • Example: Valerie Blain contributed a document overview of a poster produced by the Young Lords in 1970 and situated it in the context of the heroin epidemic and the occupations of Lincoln Hospital by the Young Lords and other groups during this period.

Collection Overview. Provide an alternative or supplementary introduction to a collection, pulling in secondary literature or other background information that is not already highlighted in the collection description, or connecting the collection to other collections in the archive.

  • Example: Students of Latin and jazz music in The Bronx might reframe the David M. Carp papers on Latin jazz in new and insightful ways, drawing on the wealth of secondary sources on these topics or their own knowledge of these genres.
  • Example: A contributor could situate the Esperanza Martel papers within the wider history of Puerto Rican organizing in The Bronx and New York City. This collection could be connected, for instance, with the Argote Family papers, which documents community mental health workers’ organizing at Lincoln Hospital in the late 1960s.

Personal Experience. Share personal experiences with something covered in the collection.

Close Reading. Perform a close reading of a limited number of archival items. Focus on 1–3 archival items. Read over the existing community notes and try to introduce archival items that have not yet been covered.

  • Example: Connect Bronx history from the collection to organizing happening in The Bronx today. For example, draw from the White Lightning newspaper’s reporting on the policing of parks and draw connections to current struggles to maintain green space/gardens and protect them from developers.

Creative Work. Submit a piece of creative writing, art, music, or multi-genre work inspired by a part of the collection.

Teaching Notes. Submit a class assignment or educational activity that you designed drawing on portions of the collection, along with sample student work (with the permission of students). This can be from a K–12 or higher-education setting, but it doesn’t have to be! We would also love to hear from organizers or community educators using archived Bronx histories for political education!

Connections. Draw connections between documents contained in this repository and other archives. For example, you might draw materials from Lehman College’s Bronx Research LibGuide.

Localized History. Focusing on a collection, individual item, or group of items in the repository, create a neighborhood, block, street, building, park, geological, or environmental history. This could take the form of a standard written narrative or be more creative and interactive (like a digital map, for instance).

Formatting and Submission

  • Submissions can be in any of the following formats: DOC, DOCX, PDF, OTF.
  • At the top of the document, include a desired title for the post and your desired name for publication.
  • Throughout the submission include archival images, screenshots of archival documents or multimedia, or screenshots of portions of collections. Below each image, include a link to their source in the archives and a 1–2 sentence caption that briefly describes the image. 
  • Hyperlink any external online sources, and mention any offline sources you draw on in the body of the post. List all references at the end of the document as well. References should be formatted according to MLA 9th edition guidelines. A helpful overview can be found here, and the editors are happy to provide assistance.
  • For prose-heavy categories of submissions, aim for 1,000–2,000 words.
  • Submissions are subject to editorial review and are not guaranteed to be published, or published in their submitted form. Published blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editors or the institutions they represent.

Submissions should be emailed to librarian@bronxhistoricalsociety.org with the subject line "Submission to Community Notes".

Published Posts

Helping the South Bronx Heal: Public Health and the Young Lords

In 1969, Felipe Luciano and other Latino and Black young adults founded the New York branch of the Young Lords Organization, later renamed the Young Lords Party (“Felipe Luciano,” n.d.). Among the founding members were Denise Oliver, later a member of the Black Panther Party and influential activist, as well as other women (Rich 2020). Based in the barrios of the South Bronx and East Harlem, the Young Lords dedicated their work to serving and empowering their communities. The Lords took note … Read More