When filmmakers descended upon the South Bronx in the early 1980s to shoot a Paul Newman vehicle called “Fort Apache,” they didn’t bargain on the community’s response.
While at first the movie production was cause for celebration — it would bring jobs and money to the struggling borough — it soon became clear after the script of the movie was circulated in the community that the Bronx was being served up as a backdrop for violence and racial stereotypes.
What happened next shouldn’t have been a surprise: An eruption of protests against the production, led by Dr. Evelina Antonetty, the founder of United Bronx Parents who was able to attract the fiery Young Lords to her cause. And documenting it all was her grandson, photographer Joe Conzo.
The Bronx Museum is showcasing Conzo’s work documenting the “Fort Apache” protests in a new exhibition that opened Thursday. The two other photographers in the show, Jules Aaron and Morton Broffman, are also Bronx-born.
And while Broffman’s work took him to the South to document the Civil Rights movement, including the march in Selma, Aarons’ works are deceptively simple street shots of Jewish life in the Bronx.
Here we’ve collected 13 photographs by Aarons and Conzo showing the Bronx in both upheaval and every day life.
Protestors marching against the filming of “Fort Apache” in the Bronx in April 1980. (Credit: Joe Conzo)
Demonstrators protest the filming of “Fort Apache” in the Bronx in 1980. (Credit: Joe Conzo )
Actor Paul Newman on the set of “Fort Apache” in the Bronx, 1980. (Credit: Joe Conzo)
Demonstrators at the Waldorf-Astoria, 1980 (Credit: Joe Conzo)
Time Warner executive Kip Watkins and “Fort Apache” executive producer Tom Fiorello meet with members of the Committee Against Fort Apache at United Bronx Parents in the Bronx in 1980. (Credit: Joe Conzo)
An untitled photograph in the Bronx in the 1960s. (Credit: Jules Aarons)
Untitled photograph of boys playing in the Bronx in the 1960s. (Credit: Jules Aarons)
‘Bronx Portrait II: Yiddish Newspaper, Bronx, NY, C. 1960s. SIlver gelatin print. (Credit: Jules Aarons)
‘Relaxing on a Summer Day: Bronx, New York’, C. 1960s. Silver gelatin print (Credit: Jules Aarons )
‘Untitled’ C. 1960s. Silver gelatin print (Credit: Jules Aarons )
Bronx Portrait I: Yiddish Newspaper, Bronx, 1960s. (Credit: Jules Aarons)
‘Untitled’ C. 1960s. Silver gelatin print (Credit: Jules Aarons)
By CRISTIAN SALAZAR February 27, 2015