Negroes of New York

“Negroes of New York” is a survey in 41 studies of Black New Yorkers from 1626 to the 1930s, commissioned by the Works Progress Administration between 1936 and 1941. Among the many subjects covered by a variety of writers are biographical sketches, studies relating to the slave trade, slavery, culture, economics, sports, theater, and migrations. Among the authors are novelists Ralph Ellison, poet Claude McKay, playwright Abram Hill, and children’s books author Ellen Tarry.

Also included is the 1940 manuscript of “The Negro in New York: An Informal Social History” edited by journalist and author Roi Ottley, which was originally prepared by the Federal Writers’ Program of New York City.

The collection is held at the Schomburg Center in the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.

For art produced by the WPA-sponsored Harlem Arts Community Center in New York Click Here!

This collection is held in the Schomburg Center’s Art and Artifacts Division.


The Negro World

The Negro World—subtitled “A Newspaper Devoted Solely to the Interest of the Negro Race”—was the organ of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association headquartered in Harlem.

The weekly, started in 1918, was distributed in the Americas, Africa and Europe. Reflecting the readership’s diversity some sections were published in French and Spanish in the early 1920s. Colonial powers banned the newspaper in some parts of Africa and the Caribbean.

At its height in the 1920s, The Negro World’s circulation—often through the clandestine activities of seamen—was said to have reached 200,000 copies. Editors and contributors were well-known scholars, activists, journalists and artists such as historian Carter G. Woodson, bibliophile and activist Arthur Schomburg, former slave and journalist T. Thomas Fortune, author Zora Neale Hurston, journalist Amy Jacques Garvey, and political activists Hubert H. Harrison and W. A. Domingo.

The Negro World ceased publication in 1933.