Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, but as anyone who lives in Harlem knows–to tweak a favorite line from the Schomburg Center–it's always Black History Month in the neighborhood.
The epicenter of the famed artistic movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, the area is like a living museum of black culture and achievement, where a walk down almost any block reveals a plaque, mural, statue or street name honoring a giant in African-American history.
To mark the occasion, the Curious Uptowner will be strolling through the neighborhood–always a favorite pastime–and highlighting the buildings where some of the most important black artists, writers, musicians and thinkers once lived. They'll appear on Instagram Stories for the next 28 days, and the three most popular will be featured here at the end of the month.
Kicking things off is a visit to poet (and birthday boy!) Langston Hughes' beautiful brownstone at 20 East 127th Street–which just so happens to be one of the few historic Harlem houses open to the public.
His home for the last 20 years of his life–Hughes died in 1967–it is currently run by the I, Too Arts Collective. The non-profit organization, named after one of Hughes' most famous poems, hosts events that nurture the arts in the community. It's also in the process of raising funds to purchase the 1869 brownstone from the current owner.
The bright parlor floor is open three days a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), where visitors can view the poet's typewriter, piano and a few small, framed mementos in a space that looks like it has hardly changed since the poet resided there.
Check the organization's calendar for upcoming events, including a playwright showcase, preteen dance classes, and poetry workshops via Airbnb Experiences. Not sure if you can make it? Do the next best thing and donate to this worthy preservation preservation project.
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