When Harlem was Jewish

Street scene on East 104th Street, c.1900. The sign on the Union Settlement Hall, written in Yiddish with some transliterated Americanisms, reads "All Jews of Harlem: We provide you with seats in this light, airy auditorium. Cantor Rubin will be invited with his famous choir. Tickets can be obtained here from 1PM until 10PM." Union Settlement House was created by Union Theological Seminary alumni. This photograph is from the Union Settlement House Records in Columbia's Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Courtesy of Union Settlement House

When Harlem Was Jewish was written by Jeffrey Gurock, Libby M. Klaperman professor of Jewish history at Yeshiva University, as his doctoral dissertation at Columbia University (1977). In this chapter, "Decline of Jewish Harlem, 1920–1930," Professor Gurock traces the exodus of Jews from Harlem in favor of Harlem's growing African American population.

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Photo Essay: The Streets of Harlem
"Can we think of another neighborhood in the world that has the kind of resonance that Harlem has? Greenwich Village, and neighborhoods in London, but I think it's hard to beat Harlem."
—Robert O'Meally

Arts and Culture
The flowering of Harlem music, theater, and writing is explored by Columbia faculty and recalled by eminent African Americans social leaders.

The Neighborhood
Harlem at different times was a magnet for Jews, West Indians, and African Americans from across the United States.

Reflections on Adam Clayton Powell, the odyssey of David Dinkins and political culture itself in Harlem.

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

The Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia.

Paul Robeson
One of the most prominent black Americans of the 1930s and 1940s, Robeson won critical and popular acclaim for his stage and screen roles.

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