Harlem History & Culture
Any discussion of Harlem history and culture that doesn’t touch on the Harlem Renaissance is no discussion at all. From around 1918 through the mid-1930s, the neighborhood was ground zero for a flourishing of music, dance, art, fashion, literature, and more. It’s an era that brought names like Langston Hughes, Bessie Smith, and Zora Neale Hurston to the forefront. A time period that jazz, rock and roll, hip-hop, and every genre in between can trace their roots to. Relatedly, Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater set the stage for countless legendary acts and helped jumpstart innumerable careers—including Ella Fitzgerald and Jimi Hendrix—with its regular “Amateur Night” showcase. But the Apollo is just one of many historic buildings found throughout Harlem’s several landmark areas. Districts like Striver’s Row, Mount Morris Park, and Manhattan Avenue–West 120th–123rd Streets all consist of striking, indelible architecture, the kind that helps Harlem retain its character after all this time.