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harlem is... ACTIVITIES

Explore this collection of 20+ activities created to help you make learning connections to the harlem is… digital exhibition and related content on this website, including our Timeline, harlem is...Music, Theater, and Dance digital exhibits, harlem is...Healing: Heroes of the Pandemic social media project, Visual Arts, and Virtual Performances & Talks. Watch the video Celebrating What harlem is… as an introduction to the entire project. These activities are designed for teachers, community educators, and parents to use with learners ages 10 to 100.

Timeline Activities



Harlem’s history as an African-American community spans over 100 years. The harlem is… timeline is an illustrated chronology of the trailblazing people, landmark places, and significant events that comprise Harlem’s epic and extraordinary narrative from 1900-2012. This digital timeline is divided into three-sections: 1900-1939; 1940-1969; and 1970-2012.


Each section of the harlem is… Music, Theater, and Dance exhibition featured on this website contain panels that amplify the stories of the people and places who exemplify the legacy of these art forms in Harlem. Each panel is a composite of visual and narrative storytelling, including archival and contemporary photography, biographical information, quotes from oral histories, and excerpts from student writings. You can click on many of the panels for deeper contextual and creative texts. Taken together, the panels constitute an online exhibition gallery that you and your students can browse through, gather information, and formulate questions for group discussion. You may consider view the video Craig Harris & The Spirit of Harlem as an introduction to harlem is… Music, Theater, and Dance.


harlem is… Theater - Celebrates the rich legacy of the Harlem theater movement from the founding of African Grove Theatre in 1821 to the present. It explores the story of early black theaters, including highlighted theaters from the Harlem Renaissance to the theaters of today, and introduces us to some of the current theater legacy-keepers who are preserving and building on this powerful tradition.



harlem is… Music - Explores Harlem’s unrivaled musical traditions by tracing the lives of legacy keepers from James Reese Europe’s orchestra of 1910 to Olu Dara’s band in 2008, and marking the contributions of landmark institutions such as The Apollo Theater. 



harlem is… Dance - Honors the contributions of four significant African American dance pioneers Marie Brooks, Ruth Williams, Dele Husbands, and Loretta Abbott. These inspiring women have built community through dance and dedicated their remarkable talents as performers and teachers.

Music, Theater and Dance

harlem is... Healing: Heroes of the Pandemic and Social Justice


In response to coronavirus and the local devastation in New York City, Community Work,s in association with New Heritage Theatre Group, launched a digital celebration called harlem is… Healing: Celebrating Heroes of the Pandemic and Social Justice. The series grew out of the spirit of its 20-year effort to spotlight local heroes, famous or not, who make a difference. The disease has prompted Harlem’s people and institutions from every field to stand up to help keep our community healthy. Through tribute posts on social media and local press coverage, the series publicly acknowledges and thanks those who act for many by helping the Harlem community heal through service.


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The visual arts are a core component of the harlem is… community learning program and it was the primary vehicle for the participating students to craft and share their own local history and hero stories.  Our exhibitions feature the work of contemporary local artists, as well as highlight the community art of celebrated artists from the past.  You can engage with the visual arts on this website through The Art of Paul Deo and The Harlem Hospital Mural Collection and you can view the harlem is. . . Art: Weusi video.. Also, see the Making a Difference Curriculum for tips on creating art projects and conducting artist interviews in your classrooms and community organizations..

Visual Art


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The harlem is… exhibition features several short films and videos that provide dynamic musical and visual introductions to the sights and sounds of Harlem. These videos showcase celebrated artists and activists, as well as the diverse community that is Harlem. View them and generate discussion drawn from the testimony of the interviewees, the diverse musical styles of the soundtracks, the vibrant visual arts, the poetic spoken word, and the memories depicted in the archival photos. Collaged together, what does Harlem mean to you?

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