African American Studies


Vera Simpkins-Pastore is a Professor Emeritus of psychology who taught in the City University of New York System and has resided in the Bronx for several years. As such, she is able to attest to the experience of growing up as a member of the Bronx African-American community.

Simpkins-Pastore was born in Mount Vernon, but moved to the Bronx at the age of 12. She told the Bronx African-American History Project that this decision was prompted by her landlord selling her family’s house as well as some marital difficulties between her parents. Simpkins-Pastore also said that she felt safe as a child growing up in the Bronx despite being aware that gangs operated in the borough. As a child, she attended Junior High School 40 and then graduated to attend Hunter High School. After completing her school days, Simpkins-Pastore used to come directly home instead of participating in extracurricular activities; however, she formed a close friendship with a girl who lived next door to her family. Furthermore, Simpkins-Pastore said that while her parents did not expose her to religion, she often attended St. Augustine’s Church with a friend named Yvonne. Simpkins-Pastore also attended a summer camp known as Camp Minisink during her youth.

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