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BACKGROUND Harlem has been an epicenter for  black culture for decades, especially  during the Harlem Renaissance.  During times of racial tensions,  which still go on today, Harlem has  served as a safe space where black  people can mingle amongst  themselves, celebrating life with  music, art, and good food.  However, even Harlem in all its  black excellence is not immune to  the effects of gentrification. From  new housing complexes offering  “affordable” housing to the  introduction of Whole Foods,  Harlem is slowly being bleached of  its melanin.     This booklet aims to highlight some of Black Harlem’s most notable  sites, in the hopes that continuous recognition will aid their  preservation.  

     


SYLVIA’S RESTAURANT 3​28 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027 

Sylvia’s Restaurant was founded in  1962 by the late Sylvia Woods,  nicknamed the “Queen of Soul Food”.  This restaurant became renowned for  its delicious and hearty servings of  soul food, being referred to by some  as the “World’s Kitchen”. 

Historically, soul food was not as desirable as it is today. Soul food  originated during slavery times, in  which white slave owners would  only give slaves the “leftover” and  “undesirable” cuts of meat, such as  pig feet and chicken wings.  However, soul food has become  synonymous with some of the most  delicious foods in the world.   Notable visitors of Sylvia’s restaurant  included Barack Obama, Al Sharpton,  and Spike Lee. All that have dined here  speak highly of it. In walking distance  of the Apollo Theater, the restaurant  has become a popular location for  tourists and townspeople.         


THE LANGSTON HUGHES RESIDENCE 20 E 127th St, New York, NY 10035 African-American poet and writer  Langston Hughes (1902-67) was one  of the foremost figures of the  Harlem Renaissance.  

He lived on the top floor of the rowhouse at 20 East 127th Street for  the last 20 years of his life.  

He also used the space as his workroom where he wrote  “Montage of a Dream Deferred”  (1951) and his second autobiography,  “I Wonder as I Wander (1956).   

His residence at in Harlem was landmarked and East 27th Street was  renamed “Langston Hughes Place.”           


MINTON’S PLAYHOUSE ​206 W 118th St, New York, NY 10026

The Minton Playhouse is home to the  history of jazz music. It was founded in  1938 by Henry Minton, the saxophonist  for which the establishment gets its  namesake. Minton’s Playhouse played a  huge role in the creation of modern  jazz.  

Anyone who’s anyone in the  world of jazz has performed at  Minton’s, including Ella  Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and  Louis Armstrong to name a few.       Minton’s was also where Bebop was  started, thanks to regular performers  Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie and  Charlie Parker. This small Harlem  nightclub has left a large impact on the  history of Jazz music and the African  American people.   

     


APOLLO THEATRE 253 W 125th St, New York, NY 10027 The Apollo Theatre is one of the most  famous entertainment venues associated  with African American culture.  Ironically, the Apollo originally catered  to all white audiences and had hired only  white performers from the time it was  built in 1913 to its purchase in 1932 by  Sydney S. Cohen and Morris Sussman.   In 1932, Sydney S. Cohen and  Morris Sussman purchased the  Apollo, reopening the Apollo as a  theatre targeted toward black  audiences. For many years, the  Apollo was the only New York  City Theatre to hire black  entertainers.   The Apollo Theatre has hosted  performances by many famous and  influential black entertainers, such as  Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Luther  Vandross and Lauryn Hill to name a few.           


GUESS THE PERSON   Famous People associated with Harlem    Who was…?  ● One of the best selling rappers of all time  ● Godson of Assata Shakur   ● “Keep ya head up.”      Who was…?  ● “My Super Sweet Sixteen” iconic Barbie entrance  ● She was danced in Kanye West’s “Fade”   ● Her husband played for the Knicks Cavs, and Sacramento Kings      Who was…?  ● A poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist  ● Published his first poem in 1921  ● Said “The Negro was in vogue”    Who was…?  ● Born Eleanora Fagan   ● Known for “Strange Fruit”  ● A jazz musician and singer-songwriter with a thirty year career            

     

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