The legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem

*Many communities are little more than tracts of real estate. Harlem is not one of them. Known as the “Black Capital of America,” Harlem is a one-of-a-kind culture. Beyond being a physical location in upper Manhattan, it is hallowed ground for many blacks. Unfortunately, according to Bill Maxwell of the St. Petersburg Times, all that is changing. Fast. Here’s why:

“In Manhattan, there are only so many directions you can go,” said Joshua Bauchner, a white resident who moved to a Harlem town house in 2007. “North to Harlem is one of the best options.” With the influx of outsiders who have money comes hardship for many longtime black residents.

Four of my relatives, along with their children, are being displaced from the street where they have lived comfortably since the 1970s. When they told me in 2001 that they were participating in demonstrations against the plan to locate Bill Clinton’s post-White House office in a high rise at 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, I suggested that the former president was reaching out to blacks, trying once again to demonstrate solidarity and empathy.

They argued that Clinton’s very presence would “jack up” the prices of housing and rents for small business people. They turned out to be right. An unintended consequence was that prices for almost everything began to soar. In 2001, for example, the top price for a brownstone terrace house in Harlem was $400,000. Five years later, that same type of house was worth $4 million. Prices have been rising since. Unfortunately for low-income blacks, Harlem has more brownstones than any other part of Manhattan that are waiting to be remodeled.

Read MORE of this report HERE.