From The New York Times:

“Morgan Powell lived for Bronx history. He spoke about everything from the borough’s parks, rivers and early settlers — the kind of people for whom streets and neighborhoods are named — to the waves of African-American and Latino immigrants who remade the area during the 20th century.

He paid the bills — as best as he could — working as a landscaper and gardener. But he sustained his spirit with his love of Bronx history and his advocacy for the natural environment. He did his research on his own, sharing his knowledge and passion on blogs and free tours.

“Even when we went downtown, he would make connections about things in Manhattan and things in the Bronx,” said Nilka Martell, a close friend who joined him on daylong historical walks. “He knew I hated leaving the Bronx, so he always showed me the connections.”

Now Ms. Martell and her friends are struggling to find the most basic of connections to Mr. Powell — his next of kin. His body was discovered floating in the Erie Basin, off Red Hook, Brooklyn, on Sept. 29. The New York City medical examiner’s office is investigating the cause of his death. People are devastated and confused: How could a man devoted to uncovering the hidden history of the Bronx have concealed his own past? Worse, would he now be fated to a pauper’s unmarked grave?”

Read the full story here:

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Friends Hope Death Won’t Doom a Devotee of Bronx History to Oblivion – NYTimes.com.

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