Activist to Archivist: Dr. Richard K. Lieberman, Professor & Director of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives
February 17, 2020
A profile on Richard K. Lieberman, Ph.D., professor of history and director of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College, was recently published on I Love The Upper West Side. Following is an excerpt of the profile, written by Mike Mishkin:
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Richard K. Lieberman, Ph.D., Professor of History and Director of LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College, ties the focus of his entire career to inspiration he found with Fr. Harry Browne, a priest at St. Gregory’s Church on West 91st Street.
At the time, it was the 1960s and Professor Lieberman was an NYU graduate student and anti-Vietnam War activist. Browne was known as a fiery advocate for the urban poor and civil rights, and the church was sheltering the Berrigan Brothers. While Fr. Harry Browne’s influence on Professor Lieberman was not faith-based, it did provide an overarching inspiration and professional direction regarding commitment to political idealism and activism and a wholehearted belief in putting beliefs into practice to making the world a better place.
It also inspired Lieberman to connect with people who lived in the neighborhoods he was studying. “At the time, it was getting oral histories from the groups of Irishwomen who lived and gathered at this church,” he remembered.
Since those days, Lieberman has been living his ideals as a teacher at LaGuardia Community College. And, as the Director of the Archives, a premier historical NYC resource, he takes great pride in putting valuable historic documents into the hands of community college students so they can study, research and develop projects drawing from primary sources. These photographs, diaries, newspaper clippings, tape recordings, videos and other materials are usually only available in archives and libraries at elite colleges. The materials have also been used by educators as they developed the 4th grade history curriculum for NYC schools…
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