On March 8, 1 946, the Lafargue Mental Hygiene Clinic at the St. Philip’s Church in the basement, at 134th Street and Seventh Avenue, a small outpatient facility run by volunteers, opened in Central Harlem.
Lafargue lasted for almost thirteen years, providing the underserved black Harlemites with what might be later termed community mental health care. While white humanitarianism often played a large role in creating such institutions, this clinic would not have existed without the help and support of both Harlem’s black left and the increasingly activist African American church of the “long civil rights era.”
Not only did St. Philip’s Church provide a physical home until its closing in 1959, it also helped to integrate it into black Harlem, creating a patient community.
Photo credit: taken in the early 1930s period photograph.