African American Studies


In this interview, the Reverend Edward Mulraine (b. 2/9/1969), pastor of a Baptist church in Mount Vernon New York, shares with the Bronx African American History Project his experiences growing up in the Bronx during the turbulent 1980s, as well as details of his work in the community as a high ranking official in the Williamsbridge office of the NAACP.

Born to a mother who immigrated to the Bronx from St. Thomas, Mulraine estimates that he lived in some fifteen different locations in the Bronx during the course of his childhood. Telling of his time in the Northeast Bronx, Mulraine describes an era of intense racial strife during a time period following the Civil Rights Movement. Attending school at P.S. 135, a racially mixed school that lay in a mostly white area, Mulraine tells of a time when if he and his African American friends did not hurry their way to and from the bus, fights with white children would often ensue. Also, tells Mulraine, the area where he lived off Reservoir Avenue also found itself inundated with racial intolerance. Mulraine says that if black children went to play in one of the neighborhood’s many parks, they could expect to find “KKK” written on the park’s walls soon after.

After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School, Mulraine attended Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, quite the change of scenery from the South Bronx that Mulraine had witnessed fall victim to the crime and deterioration that followed the crack epidemic of the 1980s. At Manhattanville, Mulraine was the president of the Black Student Union, a group that often caused controversy on campus with the speakers and performers that they chose to bring to Purchase. Mulraine recalls that on more than one occasion, the group had to cancel functions due to bomb threats called in by students who did not wish to hear the message of the speakers that the Black Student Union brought to Manhattanville.

After graduating from Manhattanville and briefly attending NYU, Mulraine began to work for the House Probation Development agency as an urban planner. After helping to rebuilding the neighborhood of East New York in Brooklyn, Mulraine made contacts in the NAACP, where he soon became a high-ranking member.

After getting elected to the local school board, Mulraine then decided to run for the presidency of the Williamsbridge chapter of the NAACP. Through his efforts with both organizations, Mulraine has made strides in the areas of education, most notably setting up the Educator’s Award for Ethic Virtue, meant to honor black teachers in the area. Mulraine has also proved integral in the effort to hire more black teachers and principals in the predominately African American area he represents.

Mulraine, Edward.mp3 (103809 kB)

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Mulraine, Edward.mp3 (103809 kB)