Councilmember Kristin Jordan Opposes a Multi-Racial Harlem

In two media reports last week, Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan voiced opposition to a new development on 145th Street (including a new headquarters for The National Action Network and a civil rights museum) in order to reduce the number of potential non-Black residents in her district.

New York 1 reports:

If the City Council doesn’t approve the plan, the developer could still go ahead with a much smaller project of all market-rate units.

Councilwoman Kristin Richardson-Jordan would ultimately prefer that option, since she believes it would bring a smaller number of newcomers to the neighborhood.

“That makes a difference, especially in a community like Harlem where we are one of the only places with a Black plurality and a Black political voting block,” Richardson-Jordan said. “So you have a dilution of that voting block, you also have an influx of people who have much higher incomes, and you have the continuing displacement of those who are around.”

City and State also quotes the councilmember as saying:

“If we’re talking about Black rights and liberation, that doesn’t come in the form of a museum…”

For the full City and State article, see:

Racial Covenants

In Kevin McGruder’s book: Philip Payton – The Father of Black Harlem, McGruder notes that on February 13th, 1907, West 137th Street was the site of Harlem’s first (one of the first nationally) racially restrictive racial covenants, drawn up in response to Black residents moving into Harlem.

23 property owners on West 137th Street between Lenox and 7th Avenues signed this racial covenant, appropriating language previously used to “restrict the presence of Jews in residential areas” in an attempt to legally stop integration and a multicultural Harlem:

That neither of the parties hereto, nor his heir and their heirs legal representatives successors and assigns shall or will at any time hereafter up to and including the 1st day of January, 1917 permit or cause to be permitted, or suffer or cause to be suffered, either directly or indirectly, the said premises to be used or occupied in whole or in part by any negro mulatto, quadroon or octoroon of either sex whatsoever, or any person popularly known and described as a negro, mullato [sic], quadroon or octoroon of either sex as a tenant, subtenant, guest boarder or in any other way, manner or capacity whatsoever, excepting only that any one family occupying an entire house or an entire flat or an entire apartment, may employ one negress or one female mulatto, or one female quadroon or one female octoroon as a household servant, performing only the duties ordinarily performed by a household servant—it being understood and agreed that this covenant or restriction shall not be enforced personally for damages or by an action in equity or at common law against either of the parties hereto or his, her or their heirs legal representatives, successor or assigns, unless he, she or they be the owner or owners of the said premises at the time of the violation, attempted violation or threatened violation of this covenant or restriction, but this covenant or restriction may be proceeded on for an injunction and for damages against the party or parties, or person or persons who for the time being own, occupy or are in possession of the said premises, and violating or attempting or threatening to violate this covenant or restriction.


Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership

Join Princeton University Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s presentation on the ways that housing policies inspired and shaped by private sector organizations undermined the federal government’s ability to enforce fair housing rules and regulations long after the passage of the Fair Housing Act.

Register here:

Thursday, March 10, 5:30 PM