The Sugar Hill Development is Not Sweet, Or Is It?

lead_large“Why’re you taking a picture of the building? It’s fucking ugly.” With those words, a construction worker greeted the writer Mark Byrnes at City Lab last Thursday as he approached the entrance to David Adjaye’s Sugar Hill development, on the site of a former brownfield on West 155th and Saint Nicholas Avenue in West Harlem. Continue Reading →

Anita Thompson, Harlem’s American Cocktail Girl, 1920′s

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Langston Hughes was a cousin; Booker T. Washington was a friend; Bill “Bojangles” Robinson taught her tap dance; W. E .B. du Bois a likely first lover…

Contemporary ‘It girls’ have nothing on the free spirits of the 1920s like Anita Thompson Dickinson Reynolds, who danced the Charleston, turned cartwheels on the sidewalk, and drank gin blossoms till dawn. Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Tupac Amaru Shakur (video)

tupac-pic-4-babyTupac Amaru Shakur (June 16, 1971 – September 13, 1996), also known by his stage names 2Pac and briefly as Makaveli, was an American rapper and actor. Continue Reading →

Selling and Celebrating African Aesthetics at Sotheby’s

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“The spell of Africa is upon me. The ancient witchery of her medicine is burning my drowsy, dreamy blood. This is not a country, it is a world—a universe of itself and for itself, a thing Different, Immense, Menacing, Alluring. It is a great black bosom where the Spirit longs to die. It is a life so burning, so fire encircled that one bursts with terrible soul inflaming life.”  “Little Portraits of Africa” published in 1924 by W.E.B. Du Bois.

By Tod Roulette

Like many people who own art I like to purchase works that do not necessarily ‘fit’ with other things I already own in my collection. Continue Reading →

Williana “Liane” Jones Burroughs, Harlem

Burroughs-Williana-1933Williana “Liane” Jones Burroughs (1882–1945) was an American teacher, communist political activist, and politician. She is best remembered as one of the first African-American women to run for elective office in New York. Continue Reading →

Carl Van Vechten’s Harlem Color

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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 →

Marcus Garvey In His Harlem Office, 1914

390456_321136221247341_1907102897_nMarcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH (17 August 1887 – 10 June 1940), was a Jamaican political leader, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL). Continue Reading →

Harlemite, Danny Glover Receives Harlem Arts Alliance’s Humanitarian Award 2012

Each time actor and activist Danny Glover passes the 135th Street YMCA, he reminisces of the days that the cultural hub used to host and house Harlem Renaissance writers such as Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois, and actors such as Ossie Davis and Paul Robeson. Continue Reading →

Carl Van Vechten and the Harlem Renaissance: A Portrait in Black and White

Carl Van Vechten was a white man with a passion for blackness who played a crucial role in helping the Harlem Renaissance, a black movement, come to understand itself. Continue Reading →