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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. 



The Apollo Theatre is one of the most famous entertainment venues associated  with African American culture. Located in  Harlem, the Apollo was built in 1913 by Jules  Hurtig and Harry Seamon, originally named  Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater.  Fifteen years later, during the Harlem  Renaissance, the theatre was purchased by  Bill Minsky and renamed the 125th Street Apollo Theatre. Ironically, both  the audience and entertainers at the Apollo were white at the time.   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.