Annie Dillard: Domestic Service & Single Motherhood in Harlem

Annie Dillard*, an 18 year old native of St Kitts in the British West Indies, was admitted to the New York State Reformatory for Women in July 1924. (*This name is a pseudonym, as required by the New York State Archives). A judge committed her as a Wayward Minor, at the request of her sister,… Continue reading Annie Dillard: Domestic Service & Single Motherhood in Harlem

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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

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

Perry Brown: A Lodge member’s life in Harlem

Perry Brown* was a forty-five-year-old born in Pennsylvania, who was placed on probation after stealing coats from the building of which he was superintendent in 1930.  (*This name is a pseudonym, used at the request of the Municipal Archives).That crime came in response to his wife Pauline's long illness, and was a marked departure from… Continue reading Perry Brown: A Lodge member’s life in Harlem

Roger Walker – A Lodger’s Life in 1920s Harlem

Roger Walker* was a nineteen-year old native of North Carolina and restaurant worker placed on probation after being convicted of trying to burgle a drug store in 1930, when he was unemployed and without money for food (*This name is a pseudonym, used at the request of the Municipal Archives). The map of Walker's life… Continue reading Roger Walker – A Lodger’s Life in 1920s Harlem

Morgan Thompson – a West Indian Laborer’s Life in Harlem

A West Indian, born in 1888, who arrived in Harlem in 1917, Morgan Thompson* was convicted of assault in 1928 after he lost his temper and stabbed a man who had confronted his seventeen year old son  on West 144th Street. (* This name is a pseudonym, used at the request of the Municipal Archives)… Continue reading Morgan Thompson – a West Indian Laborer’s Life in Harlem

Fuller Long: A teenager’s life in Harlem

Fuller Long* was a seventeen-year-old African American boy placed on probation in 1928, after having been convicted of having sexual intercourse with his underage girlfriend.  The map shows his life in Harlem. (* This name is a pseudonym, used at the request of the Municipal Archives) Together with his parents and two sisters, Long migrated… Continue reading Fuller Long: A teenager’s life in Harlem