Books: The Tastemaker, Carl Van Vechten and the Birth of Modern America

tastemakerThe Tastemaker explores the many lives of Carl Van Vechten, the most influential cultural impresario of the early twentieth century: a patron and dealmaker of the Harlem Renaissance, a photographer who captured the era’s icons, and a novelist who created some of the Jazz Age’s most salacious stories. Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Renaissance Casino, 1924

Harlem Renassance BallroomThe Harlem Renaissance Ballroom opened in 1923. The casino was built by the black-owned Sarco Realty Company. The Ballroom at 138th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, quaked with the frenzied rhythms of the Lindy Hop. Continue Reading →

HW Pick: Ellison at 100: Reading Invisible Man

Ralph_Ellison_from_wikimediaThe Studio Museum in Harlem and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture are pleased to announce a major collaboration celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of America’s greatest writers, Ralph Ellison. On Saturday, March 1, 2014—a century after Ellison’s birth in Oklahoma City—Ellison at 100: Reading Invisible Man will kick off a year of programs and initiatives celebrating the Ellison Centennial. Continue Reading →

Carl Van Vechten’s Harlem Color

Sanneh01Ella Fitzgerald, 1940

In “White Mischief,” in this week’s issue of the New Yorker magazine, Kelefa Sanneh writes about Carl Van Vechten, a “New York hipster and literary gadabout” who was an unlikely champion of the African-American experience as it unfolded on the streets of Harlem in the nineteen-twenties. Continue Reading →

WQXR Host And Harlemite Terrance McKnight Celebrates Black History

TerranceMcKnight1_byMarcoAntonio_WNYC_PORTRAITS_2514_300dpiMusic—jazz, gospel, R&B, and hip-hop in Harlem—has been a crucial vehicle of African American cultural expression, but the contributions to classical music by people of African descent is rarely given its due. Continue Reading →

The Niggerati Manor In Harlem

Niggerati Manor In HarlemThe Niggerati was the name used, with deliberate irony, by Wallace Thurman for the group of young African American artists and intellectuals of the Harlem Renaissance. “Niggerati” is a portmanteau of “nigger” and “literati”. Continue Reading →

Marva Trotter Louis, Harlem Model, 1936

Harlem’s Marva Trotter Louis, the Chicago stenographer turned model, singer and the first wife of boxing legend Joe Louis and had two children (daughter Jacqueline in 1943 and son Joseph Louis Barrow, Jr. in 1947). Continue Reading →