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When contemplating the history of Harlem, images of well-dressed blacks and shining cars immediately come to mind. But there is so much more to the history of this great neighborhood.

Harlem was originally intended to be a new neighborhood for upper-middle class whites. However, when the white population of New York did not respond as anticipated to this new real estate option, the area gradually opened to blacks who could afford the high rents of this district. The first black residents came to Harlem in 1901 from other, less desirable areas of the city, but as word of available first-class housing for blacks spread, their ranks were swelled by the massive migration of southern African Americans to New York in the early decades of this century and by a smaller migration from the Caribbean. Gradually. blacks and their culture replaced the intended population of Harlem. By 1930, the black population of Harlem was over 200,000, thus, Harlem became the largest black neighborhood in the country. They did not build or own Harlem's edifices, and they did not control its civil service, but they occupied it edge to edge, and within it, they created a community distinctly their own.
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