Mapping a Riot: Harlem, 1935

Cross-posted from drstephenrobertson.com On March 19, 2016, I participated in the Working Group on Interpreting the History of Race Riots and Racialized Mass Violence in the Context of “Black Lives Matter,” at the National Council on Public History Conference, in Baltimore. Prior to the meeting, members of the Working Group contributed short posts on their projects… Continue reading Mapping a Riot: Harlem, 1935

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“Harlem in Black & White” now in the Journal of Urban History

Our article, "Harlem in Black and White: Mapping Race and Place in the 1920s," has now appeared in the Journal of Urban History, vol. 35, no. 9, September 2013, pages 864-880. The abstract and a related map can be found in an earlier post announcing the acceptance of the article for publication in 2011.

Populating a Building in 1920s Harlem: 116 West 144th Street

Aggregated census data have been important in establishing the character of Harlem as a black neighbourhood.  Census schedules individualize that data, and perhaps more importantly for Digital Harlem, locate individuals at an address, in a specific place. So while I use census schedules to identify and trace individuals, I just as often use them to… Continue reading Populating a Building in 1920s Harlem: 116 West 144th Street

Hubert Julian in Harlem

Hubert Julian, by his own account, arrived in Harlem in 1921.  Born in Trinidad in 1897, he had migrated to Canada in 1914, where he claimed to have learned to pilot an aeroplane and served as a Lieutenant in the Canadian Air Force, and came from there to New York City.  His first appearance above… Continue reading Hubert Julian in Harlem

Harlem’s Street Vendors

On Saturday evenings, as crowds thronged Seventh Avenue in search of entertainment, many residents of Harlem headed to Eighth and Fifth Avenues to patronize street markets.  Street vendors operated throughout the week, but those evenings were a particularly busy time as residents shopped for their Sunday dinners, the main meal on the one day or… Continue reading Harlem’s Street Vendors

Australian Research Council Grant for a Study of the 1935 Harlem Riot

The Australian Research Council today awarded us a five year grant totaling $702,000 for our new project, Year of the Riot: Harlem 1935.  This amazing news means that we will be to able to expand "Digital Harlem" into the 1930s, taking advantage of the incredibly rich evidence collected by the committee that Mayor La Guardia… Continue reading Australian Research Council Grant for a Study of the 1935 Harlem Riot

“This Harlem Life” now published

Our article, "This Harlem Life: Black Families and Everyday Life in the 1920s and 1930s," has now been published in the Journal of Social History, in the Fall 2010 issue.  <update, 19 July 2011: as six months have elapsed since its publication, I can now provide a copy here>.  I've already posted maps and discussions… Continue reading “This Harlem Life” now published

Harlem’s Beauty Parlors

Beauty parlors were the most prevalent form of black business in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s.  When George Edmund Haynes, the black sociologist and founder of the Urban League, surveyed the neighborhood's businesses in 1921 he found 103 hairdressers, compared to 63 tailors, pressers and cleaners and 51 barbers.  Simm's Blue Book, a directory… Continue reading Harlem’s Beauty Parlors

Frank Hamilton: A life in debt in Harlem

Frank Hamilton*, a twenty-three-year-old born in Memphis, Tennessee, raised in Arkansas, and educated at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, was placed on probation in 1928 after stealing three suits from the midtown clothing store where he worked as a porter. (*This name is a pseudonym, used at the request of the Municipal Archives) He had… Continue reading Frank Hamilton: A life in debt in Harlem

Ice Dealers in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s

Ice dealers were prominent among the white deliverymen, salesmen and bill collectors who ventured into the residential blocks occupied by blacks. In an era before widespread electrification, Harlem’s residents and businesses relied on ice to store food as well as to cool drinks. For much of the 1920s, Italians enjoyed what the New York Age… Continue reading Ice Dealers in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s