Upper Manhattan residents have a long history of military service, including the celebrated Harlem Hellfighters, an African American infantry unit that spent more time in combat than any other regiment during World War II. Along the streets of West Harlem and Washington Heights, you can also find memorials to the Battle of Harlem Heights, which took place in 1776. You can even take a self-guided tour of military tributes and memorials on Columbia University’s campus in Morningside Heights.
Columbia has a long legacy of serving veterans and military service members, with the School of General Studies educating military veterans for more than 70 years. Columbia has developed one of the most successful programs at an Ivy League university for service members transitioning from the military to higher education, the workforce, and civilian life.
This Veterans Day, Columbia Neighbors takes a look at the resources available to veterans in the community. Below, find a few organizations and resources you should know about.
The American Legion was chartered in 1919 by Congress as a patriotic veterans organization. Today, there are more than two million members and 13,000 posts worldwide, including American Legion Post 398 on 132nd Street. Not only is this Harlem post known for connecting veterans with resources and benefits, it is also home to “one of the last authentic jazz venues in Harlem,” according to The New York Times. For the past 20 years, on Sunday nights starting at 6:00 pm, you can find a mix of veterans, musicians, and visitors grooving to jazz music featuring a Hammond B-3 organ. Learn more on the organization’s Facebook page.
Located on Columbia’s Morningside campus, but with far-reaching impact, the Center for Veteran Transition and Integration is taking the lessons it has learned enrolling more student-veterans than all other Ivy League schools combined to become a national center of excellence, focused on ensuring transitioning veterans receive access to world-class programming and support designed to maximize their potential in education and the workforce. You can learn more about the organization here.
The group creates videos and resources to help ensure the success of veterans’ transitions that are free to everyone.
Located in East Harlem, the Harlem Vet Center provides community-based counseling and a wide range of social and psychological services. This includes professional readjustment counseling for eligible veterans, active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. You can find more information about their services here.
The Harlem VA Clinic in the heart of Harlem on Lenox Ave., offers outpatient services, such as addiction and substance abuse care, homeless veteran care, mental health care, and family and internal medicine. You can learn more about the services offered and hours of operation here.