“If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything,” — Claude McKay
If Harlem is included when visiting New York City, you can stop at the Claude McKay Residence (the Harlem YMCA), where Jamaican-born, Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay resided in its early days. Even today, it remains possible to book a guest room there.
To understand the literary history of New York, it is helpful to become informed about the Harlem Renaissance, a time and place in American history that birthed and celebrated the careers of many African-American writers, musicians and artists. Claude McKay and Langston Hughes are considered two of its most influential and popular poets from that time.
In addition to the long-standing YMCA in Upper Manhattan, the Harlem home of Langston Hughes opened to the public through the “I, Too, Arts Collective” in 2017. The address is 20 E 127th Street, New York, NY 10035. The original typewriter and piano of Langston Hughes are on display at this multi-purpose space, honoring the life and work of one of the most popular African-American writers of all time. Read the moving story of the opening through a community-based non-profit campaign here: Huffington Post.
An excellent scholarly book to read about this time, place, and people working in the arts is Zora and Langston: A Story of Friendship and Betrayal, published by Yuval Taylor in 2019.
Harlem, which borders the Hudson River and is southwest of Yankee Stadium, has a population of approximately 116,000.
This is the seventh stop on our New York Author Adventures Trail!