African American Studies


Gilda Sall, originally from Harlem, moved to the Soundview section of the Bronx with her mother at the age of six. Unhappy with the education that her daughter was receiving in Harlem, Sall’s mother moved to the city’s northernmost borough, which many still considered to be almost suburban at the time. Sall tells of her first impressions of the Bronx as clean, different from the city from where she came, and overall a beautiful community in which to live.

After attending P.S. 77 and M.S. 123, Sall participated in the College Bound program at Monroe High School, a special subsection of the school that held classes in a separate building. Although she attended high school during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Sall claims that she never developed a distinct racial consciousness or encountered any racial tensions with her non-black neighbors and friends.

Sall cites the 1968 presidential campaign of Robert Kennedy as her first foray into political activism. She tells the story of a young Jewish man from the Bronx whom she dated, who opened her eyes to political participation, taking Sall to rallies and other function where her political consciousness was raised.

Upon enrolling at Fordham University Sall began to develop a better sense of her identity as a young African American woman. Sall describes the small contingent of African American students at Fordham University as a nurturing community that helped her foster a better sense of self in the turbulent times of the 1970s. In the midst of the Black Power movement and in the decline of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, Sall describes the African American students at Fordham as allowing each other express what they needed to express and be who they needed to be.

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