Harlem History

Harlem History presents a wealth of archival treasures and scholarship from Columbia about the history of one of the world's most famous and influential neighborhoods.

Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture
Throughout the twentieth century, Harlem has served as the home and key inspiration to generations of novelists, poets, musicians, and actors. The pace of New York City, the blend of backgrounds of the people who settled in Harlem, and the difficulties associated with living in Harlem were among the experiences that found expression in theater, fiction, and music, among other art forms. View

Arts and Culture

The Neighborhood
Harlem has been home to a variety of ethnic groups, black and white, since the turn of the twentieth century. As the ethnic landscape has changed, cultural and religious buildings have been reshaped to serve the evolving populations. Harlem has been called a state of mind, but it is also a real place, remembered in oral histories, described in photographs, and evaluated by scholars. View


Although it was the largest black community in New York for only a brief time, Harlem has long served as the crucible of political action and the home territory for many of last century's African American politicians. Personal experience and scholarly analysis offer reflection on what gives Harlem the edge. View

Image at left: A Harlem parade organized by the Universal Negro Improvement Association (1924).
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations


Credits and Acknowledgements: This site would not have been possible without the efforts and help of a large number of individuals and institutions. View

Columbia 250 Community Festival
Celebrating with our uptown neighbors on Saturday, Sept. 18.

Keeping members of nearby communities informed about services, events, and projects of general interest.

Programs for residents and community organizations beyond the Columbia campus.

Celebrating a great uptown neighborhood.

Columbia Next Door
Quotations on Columbia’s role in the Harlem community.

Harlem Treasures
Columbia Students Help Produce a Guide

Ahead of Their Time
From Sid Luckman to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Columbians have often been ahead of their time.

Write Columbia's History
Columbia's history, as seen by those who have studied, taught, and worked here.

Columbians list their favorites.
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