Through the lens of real estate transactions from 1890 to 1920, Kevin McGruder’s book Race and Real Estate: Conflict and Cooperation in Harlem 1890-1920 (Columbia Univ. Press, 2015) offers unique perspectives on Harlem’s history and reveals the complex interactions between whites and African Americans at a critical time of migration and development.
During these decades Harlem saw a dramatic increase in its African American population, and although most histories speak only of the white residents who met these newcomers with hostility, this book uncovers a range of reactions.
This book also introduces alternative reasons behind African Americans’ migration to Harlem, arguing that they came not to escape poverty but to establish a lasting community. Owning real estate was an essential part of this plan, along with building churches, erecting youth-serving facilities, and gaining power in public office.
Author Kevin McGruder is assistant professor of history at Antioch College, studies African American institutions, urban history, and gay and lesbian history. He earned an M.B.A. in real estate finance from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in U.S. history from City University of New York.
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