Celebrate Black History at these Five Iconic Upper Manhattan Sites

This February, we invite you to explore some notable Upper Manhattan landmarks that are important parts of Black history. 

Jessica Reyes
February 10, 2022

February is dedicated to Black History and what better way to celebrate than by exploring some historic landmarks that are within walking distance of Columbia’s campus. There is something for everyone, from music lover to literary buff, so grab your favorite walking shoes and clean the camera lens on your phone because you’re definitely going to want to capture the moment as you experience the rich history of Upper Manhattan. 

The Apollo Theater

Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Jazmine Sullivan, and Lauryn Hill are just some of the greats that have performed at the iconic Apollo Theater on 125th Street. You don't even have to go to Hollywood to strut down a walk of fame since the Apollo has its very own outside the theater. It honors the legends that have graced the Apollo stage and contributed to its legacy. While you're there, check out the upcoming programs, and don’t forget to try out for Amateur Night, which is held every other Wednesday. It doesn't matter what your talent is, everyone is welcome!

Convent Avenue Baptist Church

One of several Neo-Gothic churches in Harlem, Convent Avenue Baptist Church on the corner of 145th Street in Hamilton Heights was founded in 1942. Since then it has hosted notable figures, including Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., and remains a neighborhood landmark that attracts tourists from around the world.

Langston Hughes Home

“What happens to a dream deferred?" The opening line to Langston Hughes's poignant poem, Harlem, has become emblematic of the Harlem Renaissance, and Hughes remains one of the foremost figures of the era. His home, a brownstone on East 127th Street, has become a welcoming venue for community engagement and a showcase for poets, artists, and musicians.

The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center

When it was the Audubon Ballroom, The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in Washington Heights was frequented by Malcolm X and his wife Betty Shabazz during the Civil Rights Movement. It is also where the civil rights leader was assassinated. Today, it is partly a living memorial (spearheaded by the Shabazz family) that honors the contributions that Malcolm X made to social justice, and partly a venue for community events.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The quintessential hub to experience Black excellence and immerse yourself in African American culture and the African diaspora, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem is a part of the New York Public Library system. The center, which is a leader in research and shares exhibitions from the Library's collections, has been gathering historical artifacts and documents for over a century. The Schomburg is free and open to the public.