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In SPIRIT OF HARLEM, Craig Marberry takes us on a glorious tour of one of the world’s most fascinating neighborhoods. His unforgettable interviews, complemented by beautiful black-and-white photographs by Michael Cunningham, capture the heart and soul of the place long known as the epicenter of black cultural life in America.

Longtime residents share riveting reminiscences of Harlem during the 1920s through the 1960s: the woman who edited one of Langston Hughes’s books for a mere sixteen dollars; the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was rushed to Harlem Hospital after being stabbed in the chest; how Adam Clayton Powell Jr.—while being groomed to succeed his father as pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church—ignited scandal when he married a Cotton Club dancer.

The voice of a new Harlem emerges in tales like those from a Japanese gospel singer, a hair braider from Africa, and a white teacher who left the South on a whim on a mission to inspire Harlem students. And because Harlem is undergoing radical change as economic revival lures downtown professionals—who are restoring dilapidated brownstones with abandon—Marberry includes the voices of those newcomers, too.

The chorus of old timers and newcomers depicts Harlem in all its splendor, rancor, drama, and glamour.

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