Chapter

Making Harlem Black: Race, Place, and History in “African Americans' Africa”

in Harlemworld

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780226389981
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226390000 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226390000.003.0002
Making Harlem Black: Race, Place, and History in “African Americans' Africa”

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Harlem first suggested itself to the author as a full-fledged field site in Jamaica, West Indies. Recent anthropological and geographical examinations of contemporary time–space compression predicated on technological advances in communication and transportation have offered useful analyses of the “traveling cultures” that link people in global networks of exchange and Conversation. Manhattan's central business district and industrial hub started out at the southernmost tip of the island, and with the progressive and cumulative prodding of the Industrial Revolution, stretched its arms up and out across New York City. During that period, Harlem was a place where people went to get away from the teeming city downtown. Its history of migration and mythification is part of the reason why the place stands as the “blackest” of American communities. Harlem is famous because of its history—a history that shows how today's Harlem was created through both race-specific actions and class-inflected interests that materially and discursively constructed the black Harlem known today from the many Harlems of yesteryear.

Keywords: Harlem; technological advances; race; history; global networks

Chapter.  15344 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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