Cricket in 1920s Harlem

In Harlem, cricket was a game almost exclusively played by West Indian immigrants. The game had a prominent place in the West Indian community even before they relocated to Harlem.  One indication of the importance of cricket was that events that sought to bring together West Indians typically gave out prizes to the cricket club… Continue reading Cricket in 1920s Harlem

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1920s Harlem as a Destination

Summer did not just lead residents to depart Harlem for day trips and longer summer camps; it also brought visitors to the neighborhood. Some came as individuals to study or see family, friends and the city's attractions, others as groups for large events. Evidence of the presence of middle-class tourists in Harlem exists thanks to… Continue reading 1920s Harlem as a Destination

1920s Harlem’s Beach Resort: Rockaway

In summer, day trips to destinations near Harlem became part of residents' leisure. Social clubs gave up their weekly gatherings for the season in favor of trips outside the neighborhood, and, particularly by late 1920s, to the beach.  Beginning in the early 1920s, Rockaway in Long Island became Harlem’s beach resort. Individuals travelled by train… Continue reading 1920s Harlem’s Beach Resort: Rockaway

Summer Camps for 1920s Harlem

Until the mid-1920s, Harlem's children went to summer camps organized by the city's Fresh Air Fund (FAF) and other groups inspired by its model. Established in 1877, FAF focused initially on rural home stays, but in the early twentieth century began to run summer camps, initially for groups that "it is not wise to place… Continue reading Summer Camps for 1920s Harlem

Playgrounds in 1920s Harlem

Harlem’s leaders lobbied for playgrounds to protect “children of school age, whose parents are away from home all day by reason of their occupation, who are left to seek recreation on the streets after school hours" (1). Traffic posed the biggest threat; drivers found it difficult to negotiate children playing games of baseball, basketball and punchball… Continue reading Playgrounds in 1920s Harlem

Schools in 1920s Harlem

By 1930, there were more than 24,000 school-age black children in Harlem (1). Five public elementary served the black community in the 1920s, with two new junior high schools built in the 1920s, PS 139 (boys), which opened in 1924, and PS 136 (girls), which opened in 1925. The one secondary school located in black Harlem… Continue reading Schools in 1920s Harlem

Black Businesses in 1920s Harlem

When blacks moved to Harlem to live, they also looked to relocate and establish businesses. While the number of Harlem's residences that were home to blacks steadily expanded, the neighborhood's businesses remained largely in white hands through the 1920s. Thanks to the refusal of white banks to lend to blacks and white landlords to rent… Continue reading Black Businesses in 1920s Harlem

Constrained but not contained: Patterns of everyday life and the limits of segregation in 1920s Harlem

Stephen Robertson's article, "Constrained but not contained: Patterns of everyday life and the limits of segregation in 1920s Harlem," has appeared in The Ghetto in Global History: 1500 to the Present, edited by Wendy Z. Goldman and Joe William Trotter, Jr. (Routledge, 2017). The article is based on the presentation he gave to the Sawyer… Continue reading Constrained but not contained: Patterns of everyday life and the limits of segregation in 1920s Harlem

Childcare in 1920s Harlem

While most employed adults travelled outside Harlem to work six days a week, children remained in the neighborhood. An Urban League study of 2400 families published in 1927 found that more than half of the mothers were in paid employment. Those women reported a variety of means of providing care for the youngest of their… Continue reading Childcare in 1920s Harlem

Putting Women on the Map

On May 21, I am presenting a paper entitled “Putting Women on the Map: Gender and Everyday Life in 1920s Harlem” at the Women’s History in the Digital World Conference at Bryn Mawr College ABSTRACT This paper focuses on Digital Harlem, an award winning web-based geospatial digital history project on everyday life in the 1920s, to explore… Continue reading Putting Women on the Map