The Cotton Club

The Cotton Club

The Cotton Club

The Cotton Club

Excerpt

A major change in the living patterns of American blacks took place in the years surrounding World War I. Formerly, even in the Northern cities, blacks had lived in homogeneous but widely scattered locations. In New York City some Negro districts such as the Tenderloin and San Juan Hill were clearly identifiable and their names immediately recognized. Yet none was more than a few blocks in area. Prior to World War I, small black residential enclaves could be found throughout the city. Thirty-seventh and Fifty-eighth streets, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, were Negro blocks. All the blocks surrounding them were white. There were even Negro blocks in Harlem, which in the eighteen-eighties and nineties was fast developing into a place of exclusive residence, the first affluent white suburb.

White upper-middle-class New Yorkers viewed Harlem with great expectations, chiefly for two reasons. The first was techno-

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