|Notes on back of photo read "Pucho Band" and "Black Catskills."|
Morgan Powell’s book collection arrived at the Fordham University Archives this morning, buttressing the late historian’s already substantial contribution to the Bronx African American History Project.
Powell was just 40-years-old when he died last month and the Medical Examiner’s Office is still investigating the cause.
“We don’t usually get archives donated from someone so young,” said Kane, leafing through one of Powell’s meticulously annotated binders. “But he definitely understood archival standards.”
Much of the material donated is not necessarily from an original source, but the thousands of copies of receipts, photos, maps, articles, and even an undertaker’s notice with a Post-it marked “traces of slavery,” represent an amalgamation of disparate sources pulled together for the free tours he gave to Bronx residents. Powell never charged for the tours.
|One of Powell's tour maps.|
Naison said that despite Powell’s limited academic training, his research was rigorous and presented some highly original connections.
Powell’s tour guide binders have an almost jazz-like quality with their loose associations. Maps act almost like music bars that anchor the process, archival materials providing the notes, and marginalia dropped in like riffs on the theme.
|Powell's archives include the undertaker's notice of the"faithful servant" whose grave sits beside Augustus Zerega.|
“Not everyone thought of linking African American history to the rivers, waterways, and parks,” said Naison. “The tours he led were totally original. I’ve never known an independent scholar that created as much excitement as Morgan Powell.”
|An unidentified photo.|