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This edition:  Ron Howell, Author, Boss of Black Brooklyn

Episode Details

Original tape date: September 17, 2018.

First aired: October 15, 2018.

You may not have heard of Bertram L. Baker. He was a West Indian immigrant who rose to become a Democratic party boss in Brooklyn, and in 1948 became the first black person to be elected to office from that borough, when he won a seat in the New York State Assembly.

Baker’s political savvy led to the election of black judges and other office holders, paving the way for the likes of current New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Written by his grandson, journalist Ron Howell, “Boss of Black Brooklyn: The Life and Times of Bertram L. Baker,” is more than a biography of an accomplished though flawed man. It’s also the story of how West Indian immigrants changed the face of politics in New York City, about a much-maligned, but vibrant, Brooklyn neighborhood, Bedford Stuyvesant, and a moving family story about how Baker influenced those closest to him.
The book is published by Fordham University Press.

Guest List

Ron Howell Author, Boss of Black Brooklyn