Historian Morgan Powell found dead

Courtesy of the Bronx Historical Society

File photo

Renowned Bronx historian and environmentalist Morgan Powell has been found dead in Brooklyn, according to an Oct. 9 report in The Bronx Chronicle.

So far, the circumstances surrounding Powell’s death remain a mystery. Police are investigating, but are trying to locate next of kin before issuing a cause of death.

Powell, 41, was best known for the Bronx River Sankofa, a research project he founded that documents African-American history along the river, which included guided tours Powell offered regularly. His goal, he said, was to combat stereotypes that African-Americans did not care about their environment. He built a following through networking and social media, and presented the project across the city and at colleges and universities.

He ended the program, he said, because he feared conducting regular public tours would contribute to the environmental degradation of the riverside.

Powell later turned his focus to the Latino community’s contribution to the borough’s history, and especially to its efforts to improve the environment, using the elevated subway line that traverses the Bronx in a project called “Latinos on the 6 train.”

In an interview with The Express last May, Powell said he first became interested in the environment while participating in a summer program at the New York Botanical Garden as a freshman in junior high school. He said he wanted to share that love for the natural world with others.

“I want to encourage more environmentalists,” he said, adding “I want my videos and blogs to act as a catalyst for people to do bigger and better things.”

Powell lived his whole life in the Bronx, mainly in and around the Pelham Parkway section of the borough.

Kellie Terry-Sepulveda, executive director of The Point CDC and chair of the nonprofit Bronx River Alliance’s board, said those who knew Powell and admired his work are “in a state of shock.”

“We lost a treasure,” she said. “Morgan had such a unique quality that he shared in his love of the Bronx. His passion will never be replicated.”

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