The Four Hundred Year History From Dutch Village to Capital of Black America

Book - 2012
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Harlem is perhaps the most famous, iconic neighborhood in the United States. A bastion of freedom and the capital of Black America, Harlem's twentieth century renaissance changed our arts, culture, and politics forever. But this is only one of the many chapters in a wonderfully rich and varied history. In Harlem , historian Jonathan Gill presents the first complete chronicle of this remarkable place.

From Henry Hudson's first contact with native Harlemites, through Harlem's years as a colonial outpost on the edge of the known world, Gill traces the neighborhood's story, marshaling a tremendous wealth of detail and a host of fascinating figures from George Washington to Langston Hughes. Harlem was an agricultural center under British rule and the site of a key early battle in the Revolutionary War. Later, wealthy elites including Alexander Hamilton built great estates there for entertainment and respite from the epidemics ravaging downtown. In the nineteenth century, transportation urbanized Harlem and brought waves of immigrants from Germany, Italy, Ireland, and elsewhere. Harlem's mix of cultures, extraordinary wealth and extreme poverty was electrifying and explosive.

Extensively researched, impressively synthesized, eminently readable, and overflowing with captivating characters, Harlem is an ambitious, sweeping history, and an impressive achievement.
Publisher: New York : Grove Press, [2012], c2011
ISBN: 9780802145741
Branch Call Number: F128.68.H3 G54 2012x
Characteristics: 520 p., [34] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm


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CircMary May 24, 2018

I'm not sure there is any other location in the U.S. that has had such far-reaching effects on our history, culture, music, and literature.

Jan 21, 2015

Well done a long but satisfying read a Livingstone College graduate and fellow alum Phillip Johnson was instrumental in the roots of the Black renaissance which is a fact I take immense Pride in it is definately for the History Major the average reader will find it something to pick up and put down over a period of time which may dilute the experience one must be ready for the long haul though to really enjoy it.

austinmurphy Jan 30, 2012

In truth, I only made it about halfway through this book. I was not and still am not in a place where I have the stamina to read 520 pages of Harlem history. From what I did read, Gill does a good job of identifying the development of the "Haarlem" area. As a Harlem resident, I did find myself spending a lot of time wondering exactly where certain sites and venues were, and what has become of them. A comprehensive neighborhood map would add a lot to what is already a solid effort.


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