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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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

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

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

Harlem’s Soapbox Speakers

Soapbox or street corner speakers were a feature of everyday life in Harlem from World War One to the 1960s.  Each year, the appearance of speakers was heralded as a sign of spring, and they were particularly prevalent through the summer months, when the heat led residents of Harlem to spend most of their leisure… Continue reading Harlem’s Soapbox Speakers

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