In The Spirit Of Harlem book – Naomi Fertitta

A colourful coffee-table book exploring the rich cultural heritage of this influential Manhattan enclave

In The Spirit Of Harlem
(Assouline Publishing)
Assouline Publishing

Of late, there’s been much talk of the gentrification of parts of New York that were once deemed undesirable. Harlem is one such district caught up in the conversation, so this book is a timely reminder of what this Manhattan borough was like before the well-heeled started moving in.

As boulevards named “Dr Martin Luther King Jr” and “Malcolm X” testify to, Harlem was a focal point of the civil-rights movement and, before its economic renaissance, it underwent an artistic one.

During the 1920s and 1930s the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ spawn great works of art by the likes of writer Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God) and musical innovations, such as the ‘Harlem Stride’, a rhythmic style of jazz piano playing made popular by scores of talented musicians.

As the debate rages on over the fate of Harlem’s future, this coffee-table book reminds the world of the neighbourhood’s rich cultural past.

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