He’s Sharing the History of Black New York, One Tweet at a Time

Historians in the News
tags: African American history, New York, Twitter, urban history

When a video of a racist attack on Black children by white residents of Rosedale, Queens, in 1975 was posted on Twitter last summer, it quickly drew attention — and has now been viewed over 4.5 million times.

But few know about the man who unearthed and posted the clip, Oluwanisola “Sola” Olosunde, who wasn’t even born when the attack was filmed.

Mr. Olosunde, 24, is a history enthusiast who posts threads of archival photographs, news clippings and video footage on Twitter, racking up tens of thousands of retweets and likes. He found the Rosedale footage on YouTube while doing research.

One look at Mr. Olosunde, seated on a park bench in Bedford Stuyvesant wearing a powder blue suit, a white Kangol Bermuda hat, and a face adorned with slightly overgrown mutton chops, and it’s obvious how deeply he connects to the past. He meticulously pores through vintage clothing on eBay to get his look, he said. He often gets stopped because of what he wears.

Though he is a model and a photographer, the current Urban Planning graduate student in his last year at Hunter College is most interested in history. But not a romanticized version of bygone eras. He specifically focuses on images of the ordinary, day-to-day lives of New York City’s Black inhabitants in the recent past.

“I post a lot of things that are New York, Black and urban,” he said. “So if it’s a blend of those things, then it’s like perfect to post.”

Mr. Olosunde lived in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, until he was 11, then moved to Far Rockaway, Queens.

“I just wanted to be a person that knows everything about where I live,” he said.

The content he posts varies, from a peek at what Flatbush, Brooklyn, looked like in 1986 to the story of Larry Davis, a Black man from the Bronx who shot six police officers that same year.

Read entire article at New York Times

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