Dickie Wells Club, Harlem, New York, 1940-1950

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Dickie Wells was called the Harlem Playboy, and his club originally built as a bowling alley Dickie Wells aka “Dickie’s club” (above left photograph) was meant to be an off shoot of his reputation at 162 West 133rd Street at Seventh Avenue, in Harlem, NY, 1940-1950. Continue Reading →

Harlem’s Norma “Queen Of Swing” Miller, 1919 – (Video)

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Norma Miller, born December 2, 1919 -, is a Lindy hop dancer known as the “Queen of Swing”. Continue Reading →

Al “Hirschfeld’s Harlem,” A Rare Picture Window Into Harlem Renaissance

Now in paperback! Decades before the PBS documentaries, before Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Hirschfeld and many, many more went to Harlem. Continue Reading →

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History Of A Song, “Underneath The Harlem Moon,” By Harlem’s Mack Gordon (Videos)

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This post has very little to do with authenticity, I’m afraid. It’s more about race, irony, and the way a song’s meaning changes over time. Continue Reading →

Nora Holt “The Mama That Can’t Behave” In Harlem (warning)

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She was satirized under pseudonyms in Harlem Renaissance novels. Throughout that period she was referred to as a bronze venus, dusky diva and outrageous party girl.  Continue Reading →

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Leonard Harper, Harlem, New York 1925

leonard harper in harlem1Leonard Harper (born April 9, 1899 in Birmingham, Alabama- died February 4, 1943, Harlem, New York) was a producer /stager/ choreographer in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s. Continue Reading →

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Harlem’s Ellsworth Raymond “Bumpy” Johnson

640px-BumpyJohnsonAlcatrazPrisonCroppedEllsworth Raymond Johnson (October 31, 1905 – July 7, 1968) — known as “Bumpy” Johnson — was an American mob boss and bookmaker in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. Continue Reading →

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Harlem’s Mayme Hatcher Johnson (audio)

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Mayme Hatcher Johnson was born in North Carolina, 1915. In 1948, Mrs. Johnson married Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, portrayed in American Gangster, the 2007 film that focused on another Harlem underworld figure, Frank Lucas.

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