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

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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

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

The Death Penalty comes to Harlem, 1925: William Hoyer murders his wife and daughter

The shots with which twenty-five-year-old William Hoyer killed his wife Jennie and five-year-old daughter Sylvia were fired at 430 St Nicholas Avenue, but the events leading up to those murders wove through the spaces of Harlem.  Rich evidence of this case survives because Hoyer was ultimately executed for the crime, one of ten black residents… Continue reading The Death Penalty comes to Harlem, 1925: William Hoyer murders his wife and daughter

Traffic Accidents in 1920s Harlem

In the mid-1920s, an average of almost ten people a day, including two children, suffered injuries in automobile accidents between 130th and 155th Streets. Reports of those accidents regularly appear in the black press, and occasionally in The New York Times, and in some cases led to felony prosecutions that appear in the District Attorney's… Continue reading Traffic Accidents in 1920s Harlem