​Harlem occupies a unique place in the imagination of black America and the rest of the world.  Harlem’s legendary history embodies the struggle for African-American equality.  Its role as the cultural capital of black America, giving birth to art, literature, music, ideas, and politics, has influenced the lives and minds of millions  of people worldwide.

It is a place on an island in a city, centered around its main artery of New York’s 125th Street.  Yet as David Levering Lewis, one of its greatest historians, has written, Harlem is, was, and will always be as well a “place in the mind”—a “construct of culture”—“to be encountered in brownstones near Howard University in Washington, faculty houses on the Fisk University campus in Nashville, the Algonquin Hotel dining room, or on the left bank of the Seine.”

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