Harlem Renaissance Photo Essay

The show opens September 25 and will be on view through December 13.

Jimi Hendrix got his start here after winning amateur night. Then there’s the Studio Museum in Harlem, a gallery established in 1968 to promote the work of artists of African descent.

You have Red Rooster where live music is performed every night and Sunday brunch is a must.

Many people trade on the sidewalk, selling everything from bootleg CDs, to perfumes, to T-shirts.

Due to regulation, informal economies don’t exist in Australia, but it’s quite commonplace in many parts of the world.

Whether this black mecca will be able to hold onto to its cultural authenticity after the developers leave, is yet to be seen.

But I have a feeling I won’t have to worry about that.Parks’ frustration was rooted in the tension between his hopes for the essay and the final product.He wanted to illustrate the conditions that fostered delinquency and teen gangs in African-American communities and encourage government and social service agencies to intervene.He felt that although the young gang leader Leonard “Red” Jackson did live in a world marked by fear and violence, the emphasis the magazine’s editors placed on these aspects of life in Harlem created a one-dimensional story.Yet Parks also acknowledged that without the violence, might never have published the essay.An intent young man holds a brick, waiting for something to happen. Two young men fight, fists in the air, while others look on.These images of Harlem in 1948 were the result of African-American photographer Gordon Parks entering the inner circle of a teenaged gang leader, Leonard “Red” Jackson.Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Langston Hughes… It is a complex story which highlights the impact government policies had and continue to have on minorities in America. Whilst remnants of the hardship many people there endure are still visible today, Harlem is more than the negative stories written about it. Small businesses run by African-Americans populate this iconic street—and not just the conventional brick and mortar stores.It’s common to be accosted by African braiders the minute you jump off the subway, each haggling to give you the best price to braid or weave afro hair.For most of us who have the privilege to travel, there are certain pilgrimages that one needs to make.And there’s one city that almost always makes the list—New York. Songs have been written about it, and movies and television shows have centred around this cultural melting pot.


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