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

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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

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

A Review of Digital Harlem & My Response in the American Historical Review

The February 2016 issue of the American Historical Review includes an extended review of Digital Harlem — “Harlem Crime, Soapbox Speeches, and Beauty Parlors: Digital Historical Context and the Challenge of Preserving Source Integrity,” by Joshua Sternfeld, and my response, “Digital Mapping as a Research Tool: Digital Harlem: Everyday Life, 1915–1930.”  The AHR provides authors with a free-access link… Continue reading A Review of Digital Harlem & My Response in the American Historical Review

“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

Digital Harlem and Wikipedia

One of the purposes of this blog is to raise awareness of Digital Harlem and draw visitors to the site. When we created the site and the blog, I unreflectively adopted the adage 'if you build it, they will come,' expecting that simply being online would draw an audience.  Perhaps that was once the case,… Continue reading Digital Harlem and Wikipedia

Numbers on Harlem’s Streets

Numbers gambling formed part of the rhythm of Harlem's street life. A map of arrests for playing the numbers in 1925 features almost every corner on Fifth, Lenox, Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Those arrests generally took place in the morning, when players seeking to place bets on their way to work and before before the… Continue reading Numbers on Harlem’s Streets