Detail of the exterior of Ephesus Seventh
Day Adventist Church.
stops include landmark churches, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Striver's
Row, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Sylvan Terrace, and even the vacant
upper floors of the Division of Motor Vehicles building, where the
Alhambra Theater once echoed with the sounds of the legendary big
Along the way, distinguished guests give their first-hand accounts
of significant chapters in Harlem's history. Hartman and Lewis stop
to speak with Marcus Garvey, Jr. about his father's mission to lead
the "New Negro" into an era of self-pride, and with Attallah Shabazz
as she shares memories of her father, Malcolm X, whom she knew as
a funny, empathetic dad. Reverend Calvin O. Butts III talks about how
Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. built the Abyssinian Baptist Church into
a model institution for social activism, and traces the father-to-son
influence that drove Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. to become a major political force.
Detail of mural at Minton's Playhouse.
At Mother A.M.E. Zion Church, Dabney Montgomery
recounts its tradition as a "freedom church" that participated in
the Underground Railroad and made its pulpit available to speakers
such as Sojourner Truth, Paul Robeson, and Shirley Chisholm.
No story of Harlem would be complete without a chapter on the Harlem
Renaissance, and A WALK THROUGH HARLEM celebrates this literary and
intellectual movement with several of its modern heirs. Joining the
program's host and guide at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is Professor Kate Rushin, poet
and Harlem Renaissance scholar, who describes the movement's origins
and ideals and gives a moving reading of Langston Hughes's first published
poem, "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," on the spot where his ashes are
interred. They also chat with Donna Mussenden VanDerZee, widow of
the Harlem Renaissance's great photographer James VanDerZee, and with
A'Lelia Bundles, great-granddaughter of A'Lelia Walker, whose legendary
Dark Tower salon was an intellectual epicenter of the Harlem Renaissance.
Minton's Playhouse sign.
At the landmark nightclub Minton's, jazz pianist and scholar Dr. Billy Taylor talks about the jazz legends who made musical history
in Harlem -- and about his own big break there. Other cultural heroes
on hand are Dr. Walter Turnbull, founder of the renowned Boys Choir
of Harlem, and Harlem-born and raised Arthur Mitchell, who explains
how the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. was his inspiration
to found Dance Theatre of Harlem as a way to give back to the community.