HARLEM certainly existed before the African American exodus from the South. Once it was a rural retreat for the wealthy. Certain street names give this away: Bradhurst Avenue, St. Nicholas Avenue, Morningside Avenue & Park, and Manhattan Avenue.
For me such history is irrelevant. On 125th street stands the restored Apollo Theater. It opened in 1934 and for many years it was the only venue in New York to hire black talent. Close by is the infamous Hotel Theresa people like Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Duke Ellington, Muhammad Ali, and Jimi Hendrix all stayed or lived there.
On this street Malcolm X galvanized his audience and set in motion the Black Power movement. In the year I was born Dr. Martin Luther King was assasinated, 125th street is a Boulevard named in honour of him.
Sometimes I dream about a HARLEM - long-gone during the Harlem Renaissance. There’s a buzz in the night air - the Jelly Roll Blues…..but in reality things are better these days and HARLEM remains – a City unto herself….
Celebrate Harlem buy a Baby Does ... Harlem t-shirt. Click image on right to go to website: www.babydoesnyc.com.