African American Studies
Louis Cedeno was born August 11, 1961 to Puerto Rican and Cuban parents. His mother was a factory worker while his father worked in the hospital. He was born at Fordham Hospital, which currently does not exist and lived on Webster Avenue for the first few years of his life. He would spend the rest of his childhood on Ryder Avenue near Grand Concourse.
Louis describes the racial barriers in his neighborhood. He says there were clear color lines within the neighborhood saying that if a Latino or black went “above Aloe Park, they were dead meat”. Despite this characteristic, Louis maintains that he grew p around a variety of people. Despite the color/socio-economic lines that divided the neighborhoods in the Bronx, Louis still encountered his fair share of whites. He lived around Turkish, German, Italian, Greek and Armenian peoples.
In second grade, Louis’ mother enrolled him into St. Simon Stock Elementary School. His mother wanted her children to have a good catholic education. However, despite it being a private school, the racism and prejudice he experienced was significantly worse. Despite his having attended catholic school, Cedeno’s family wasn’t very religious. His negative experiences and the “contradictory practices” he witnessed in catholic school would lead him to resent church and the catholic faith.
Louis grew up listening to different kinds of music, from rock to the more traditional music of Latino culture like salsa. His extended family, which lived in the same housing complex as him, introduced him to many different styles of music, as did the local radio stations.
Louis began throwing parties and Dj’ing when he was in high school. He describes how due to the Bronx fires and the generally violent nature of the Bronx at the time, he had to be careful where he went with his equipment. He would travel in groups to assure their own security. Louis took the DJ name “Louis Lou” and called himself the first Latino on the turntables.
Cedeno, Luis. January 29, 2008. Interview with the Bronx African American History Project. BAAHP Digital Archive at Fordham University.
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