Celebrating the Centennial Year of the Harlem Renaissance! “There is so much to see in Harlem!” Langston Hughes’ once aptly said. Join us on a decidedly quirky exploration of the storied Harlem Renaissance. On this tour through Central Harlem, you will become acquainted with sites and personalities that made it a roaring '20s epicenter of artistic, cultural and entrepreneurial flowering. The zigzagging route explores Harlem as a varying seat of Victorian gentility (e.g. Strivers’ Row), African-American migration, Jazz-age jive and a current magnet of gentrification. You will encounter hidden tableaux by some of the most renowned Harlem Renaissance and WPA-era artists; the country's oldest black musical union; the neighborhood's newest landmarked historic district; the exuberant, and often gender-bending performance scene; Harlem's forgotten "Campus Corner" and "Frog Pond"; and the once prolific, but mostly unsung “super model” Maurice Hunter.
I'm a Columbia University Community Scholar and owner of Tagging-the-Past, which reconnects forgotten local history to present landscapes through texts, talks and tours. As an independent historian and author, I focus on Upper Manhattan's greater Harlem area. Recent fellowships include the CUNY Leon Levy Center for Biography, and the MFAH Dora Maar House in France, for work on my book about a Harlem Renaissance-era community hero: "Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal," slated for publication by Liveright/W.W. Norton, in fall 2019.
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Harlem Hospital WPA Murals and Harlem YMCA Art and Statuary. "Strivers Row" (St. Nicholas Historic District). The Frog Pond, exclusive Harlem theatrical club. Alexander Gumby's Book Studio and Harlem's 1920s LGBTQ scene. NAMA, the oldest African American musicians' union.
Guests should wear practical footwear and clothing suited for walking, and the city's sometimes fickle weather conditions.
Walks proceed rain or shine.