This photo is vintage Harlem Renaissance. James Baldwin called Lenox Avenue simply “The Avenue.” In the 1920s neighborhood notables included Marcus Garvey, Madame C.J. Walker, James Weldon Johnson, James Vanderzee, Thomas “Fats” Waller and Pig Foot Mary. Plus institutions like Harlem Hospital, Lincoln Theatre, Savoy Ballroom, Cotton Club and the old YMCA.
In ’21, the library hired Catherine Latimer as its first African American librarian. Donors, including John E. Bruce and Arturo “Arthur” Schomburg, began making gifts and loaning materials to the library to help educate neighborhood students and adults. The library and its lectures, displays and public programs became a centerpiece of the Harlem Renaissance. In ‘25 it became the 135th Street Branch, Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints.”—Christopher Moore, Curator and Special Projects Coordinator, Schomburg Center.
To learn more about the Harlem Renaissance and the Center, join Christopher Moore on a guided tour on October 5, 2011.