The National Urban League has chosen Jennifer Scott to be the founding executive director and lead curator of The Urban Civil Rights Museum being built on West 125th Street between ACP and Lenox.
The new museum will center the Urban League’s Empowerment Center in Harlem and house the NUL’s headquarters along with 170 units of affordable housing, retailers like Target and Trader Joe’s, and office space with below-market rent for community groups and nonprofits including One Hundred Black Men of New York and Harlem’s Jazzmobile.
The $242 million complex is scheduled to open in early 2025.
The museum will showcase the “long fight for justice in the North” – like the Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance – “from early African American communities to the current Black Lives Matter era,” Scott said.
Scott also has longstanding ties to New York City. An anthropologist and public historian, she has taught for more than 20 years at The New School on subjects including race and ethnic studies, cultural anthropology, and civic engagement. She also worked for nearly a decade at Brooklyn’s Weeksville Heritage Center, a memorial to a free Black community living there before the Civil War, where she helped redevelop the center’s programming and restore the historic site.
A deal to bring the National Urban League back to Harlem was reached last month as part of a mixed-use development project planned for 125th Street. In addition to affordable housing, office space for nonprofits, and the city’s first museum dedicated to civil rights, the $242 million project, known as the Urban League Empowerment Center, includes a new 44,000-square-foot Target, as the New York Post first reported.
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The National Urban League is moving along with planning for a 17-story project that will include affordable rental housing, a civil rights museum, office space for community groups, retail space, and their headquarters/conference.
The development, known as the Urban League Empowerment Center, will replace a low-slung retail building at 121 West 125th Street and a four-story parking garage that fronts the north side of the lot on West 126th Street. It will also rise next to the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building.