James Weldon Johnson: “Harlem: The Culture Capital”

(1925)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

In “Harlem: The Culture Capital,” Johnson describes the past, present, and what he envisions as the future of the New York City neighborhood that black intellectuals considered the black capital. His observations chronicle the transitions in the ethnic makeup of Harlem and the migration of blacks from other parts of the city, in search of economic opportunity and financial security. Johnson closes with an optimistic vision of Harlem’s prospects for ongoing prosperity and stability.

Paragraphs 1 and 2

In the first two paragraphs of his essay,...

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Harlem River in the first decade of the twentieth century (Library of Congress)

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