Last week scaffolding appeared around 695 Lenox Avenue, the boarded-up building that once housed the Hotel Olga, the premiere hotel for African-Americans during the Harlem Renaissance. It was the first real sign that the historic three-story building on the corner of West 145th Street will likely will be torn down.
A worker behind the desk at the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, which has its headquarters around the corner at 106 West 145th Street, revealed the activist's planned civil rights museum would be going up on the site of NAN's current offices as well as 695 Lenox Avenue. The employee said to expect an official announcement on the organization's website soon.
The museum (working name: Civil Rights Museum of New York) has been a dream of Sharpton's for a while now. “There’s a whole lot of civil rights history in the North across the board, black, Latino, L.G.B.T.Q., that has not been told,” Sharpton said to the New York Times last year, pointing to the lack of a place for people to learn about the fight for Northern civil rights. “I want to build that landmark, and say this has been the struggle in the North. I’m going to build that before I die.”