They Can’t Read Our Minds

“They can’t read our minds” is one of the mantras of HNBA and should be one of any engaged citizen. Reporting everything from leaking hydrants, to rats, to illegal drug sales helps our city respond proportionately.

Unfortunately, the use of 311 and 911 is disproportionately impacted by many factors that are often rolled up into the term “social capital”. Essentially, people with privilege are more likely to complain or notify authorities because they identify more expansively with the landscape, are socially rewarded for reporting, and do not fear blowback from authorities (and the police in particular). All of this is coupled with the very real fear that a simple report to 311/911 could potentially lead to a police encounter that could escalate.

How then do we report drug sales and drug usage so NYC can respond to this quality of life and public safety issue appropriately?

You can [anonymously] report the illegal sale of drugs, chronic drug dealing, and individuals involved in such activities, in public areas.

Call 311 for assistance by phone or use this link (and please, bookmark it):


I love this photo of a Harlem Hellfighter, posed on an NYS Police Harley, with his rifle drawn. The sunglasses and crisp uniform make this an iconic photo of professional pride.

Ebay has the photo for sale, here:

Harlem Hellfighters Honored 104 Years Ago Today

The Canadian Observer, was a newspaper and the voice of the Black community in Toronto, published by J.R.B Whitney from 1914 to 1919. The paper was rooted in the descendants of former American slaves who traveled the Underground Railroad to Canada – the Underground Railroad and the quest for freedom in Canada is a central theme in many of Accessible Archives’ African American newspapers.

Thousands of African Americans resided in Canada after the abolishment of slavery in the U.S. These African Americans established families, built homes, and formed communities, contributing to the development of the Canadian provinces they lived in as well as to the newly formed Dominion of Canada.

The article below, describes a reception given to the Harlem heroes of WW1:

Date: JULY 13, 1918

New York. N. Y.—More than twelve hundred persons attended the reception and supper given Thursday evening. June 27, at Harlem Casino, 116th street and Lenox avenue, by the Woman’s Auxiliary of the 15th Regiment in honor or the heroism of Privates Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts of the 369th Infantry, formerly the old 15th.

Enthusiasm ran high, and pandemonium broke loose when Fred R. Moore, editor of The New York Age, presented a largo silk flag, the gift or Theodore Roosevelt, to Miss S. Elisabeth Frazier, president of the auxiliary.

Among the speakers were Prof. Jesse C. Thomas of Denmark, S. C.; Prof. R. R. Wright of Savannah, Go.; the Rev. R. M. Bolden, and the Rev. George H. Sims, all of whom made patriotic addresses and praised the valor of the Negro soldier.

A poem, entitled “To Our Heroes ‘Over There,’” was read by Jesse D. Phillips, who wrote it in honor of Privates Johnson and Roberts. “Deacon” Johnson sang “He Draws No Color Line,” making his usual hit, and Arthur Rhone sang several elections The Clef Club Orchestra rendered Instrumental numbers entertainingly.

Telegrams and letters lauding Johnson and Roberts, were received from Colonel Roosevelt. Secretary of War Baker. Gov. Charles S. Whitman, Gov. Walter E. Edge, Mayor James N. Watt of Albany; Mayor Hylan, Mayor Frederick Donneely of Trenton; Principal Theobald of P. R. 15, hive August Belmont, Mrs. , chairman of co-operative. of the National League and Woman’s Service; Mrs. John H. Glenn, chairman of the Home Service Section of the American Red Cross; Hon H. P. Davison and Seward Prosser of the American Red Cross; the Rev. Hutchens C. Bishops, the Rev. W. H. Brookes and Mrs. S. W. Trouick.

The Rev. Mr. and Mrs. M. J. parents of Needham Roberts, and Mrs. Henry Johnson, wife of Private Johnson, were present and given a big ovation, whim introduced to the audience. The Rev. Mr. Roberts made a short talk, in which he declared that he, too, would light for this country if necessary. The Johnsons came from Albany to attend the reception.

Memorial Day

As always, this weekend we remember the men and women of Harlem who served in the armed forces. As many of us know, many Harlem service members had (and have) to fight discrimination within their ranks and their country, in addition to fighting the enemies of the United States.

The 369th, or Harlem Hellfighters, who fought in WW1 as the most decorated American soldiers in that horrific conflict, are memorialized in a small triangle of land, between the 369th Armory and the Harlem River Drive.

The simple obelisk – inscribed with the names of battlefields and battles, fought more than a century ago – did not appear until 2006, and even then was a copy of a 1997 obelisk that is located in Northern France where many of the 369th’s battles were fought.

The 171 members of the 369th Regiment (formed as the New York Colored Infantry Regiment)received the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War), and one member received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The 369th Armory was built in 1933 (but had taken over a decade to build) is now both home to the 369th Sustainment Brigade and a recreation center that the Harlem Children’s Zone uses and manages.

And, while memorializing this storied group of warriors is appropriately in front of the armory’s entrance, it’s telling that its location is not in Central Park, for example, where memorials to white companies are located.

The 107th Infantry memorial, dedicated on September 29, 1927, was located on the east side of Central Park because of its proximity to the Regiment’s Armory just to the east on Park Avenue. The soldiers of the Seventh Regiment’s 107th Infantry helped to break Germany’s Hindenburg Line of defense at the conclusion of World War I. The sculptor, Karl Illava, was a sergeant with the infantry and sculped this massive life-size bronze work.

Veterans of the 307th Regiment ceremoniously planted 16 oak trees in a small landscape at the end of the Mall, between 1920-22, just south of the Naumburg Bandshell. Each tree represented one of the regiment’s companies and was marked by a plaque with the names of the soldiers from that company who were lost in the war. Over time, some of the trees died or were removed, but the plaques remain. A large boulder provides an additional memorial, listing all the companies and the names of the members who died.

The Negro Soldier

The 1944 documentary Negro Soldier was commissioned by the United States Army to encourage Black volunteerism and address racial tension in the home front.

Frank Capra produced the film as a follow-up to Why We Fight.

CB11 Meeting Tomorrow at 6 PM

Please register for CB11’s Health and Human Services meeting on Monday, March 7th here:

The committee will be discussing Community Board 11’s resolution requesting a moratorium on the siting of any new drug rehabilitation, chemical dependency, or treatment centers within Community District 11 that they crafted last year, and proposing an extension before this moratorium expires.

This is a very important meeting and you are urged to join and note how the oversaturation in our community leads to poor outcomes for the existing programs when patients need to run gauntlets of dealers who tempt patients to reengage with street drugs.  

Oversaturating is directly responsible for the surge in overdose deaths we’ve seen over the last few years in our community.  We need this.

Thank Black Women


The oldest minority/women-owned professional design and construction firm in the United States – McKissack – has just completed the amazing renovations to LaGuardia and is moving on to work on JFK.

This family-owned business for more than 115 years, has worked in planning, design, and construction of more than 6,000 projects nationwide, but locally may be best known for their work on Harlem Hospital and the preservation of the amazing Harlem Renaissance murals.

McKissack provided construction management services in support of the Patient Pavilion project, which was part of Harlem Hospital’s Major Modernization Program that added 150,000 sq. ft. and the new Emergency Department, state-of-the-art critical care and diagnostic units, and operating rooms.

The historic murals created during the Harlem Renaissance in the WPA-era 1930s at Harlem Hospital were preserved and permanently reinstalled into the patient pavilion.

Now moving on to work on JFK, McKissack has a major role in the 7 billion dollar project.

Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District Gets New Signage

Nick Garber at is reporting that the Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District is getting new street signs to inform passersby that they are walking through a historic district.

The six markers have been installed on street poles around the district, which runs along both sides of Frederick Douglass Boulevard between West 135th and 140th streets, bounded by St. Nicholas Avenue and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard.

Congressional Gold Medal Awarded to Harlem Hellfighters

In mid-August, the Senate passed the Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act to award a Congressional Gold Medal to a Black infantry regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters.

The Harlem Hellfighters, the 369th Infantry Regiment, are regarded as the most celebrated African American regiment in World War I, having fought against Germany’s forces longer than almost any other American WWI soldiers. The regiment was mostly made up of New Yorkers, with the majority of the enlistees hailing from Harlem.

“The Harlem Hellfighters served our nation with distinction, spending 191 days in the front-line trenches, all while displaying the American values of courage, dedication and sacrifice,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the bill’s sponsor, said in a statement.

“The Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act honors these brave men, who, even as they faced segregation and prejudice, risked their lives to defend our freedoms,” Gillibrand added.

As noted by Gillibrand, the Harlem Hellfighters were assigned to the French army due to many white American soldiers refusing to go into battle with Black soldiers.

The Hellfighters are the third African American military group to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, after the Tuskegee Airmen in 2007 and the Montford Point Marines in 2011, both of whom fought in World War II.

The Hellfighters received their nickname from their German adversaries who called them “Hollenkampfer” for their strength. Their French comrades also called them “Hommes de Bronze” or “Men of Bronze.” Many Harlem Hellfighters received the Croix de Guerre, a French military World War I decoration awarded for valor.

Tito Puente to Face Duke Ellington’s Nick Garber reports that Manuel Vega has a new proposal (presented to CB11) for a Tito Puente sculpture at 110th and 5th, facing the existing Duke Ellington sculpture.

To read the full article and learn more, see:

Veterans’ Day

As we celebrate the service of those who served, we should pay special homage to those members of the armed services who not only fought America’s enemies on foreign shores, but who fought racism and discrimination at home and in the military as well.

Below, Dr. Keith Taylor helps celebrate the service of Airman Montgomery at

Dr. Keith Taylor with honoree Airman Montgomery (G Hazard)

the historic PFC Dorrance Brooks Square Park. This park was rededicated in honor of PFC Dorrance Brooks of the US Army who served with distinction in Harlem’s 369th Infantry Regiment – The Harlem Hellfighters.

Today we all honor the service of all men and women who fought for democracy and equality around the world and, most importantly, at home.