(A History of) The Harlem chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality

About this website:

This website was created as a project for a class, Creating Digital Archives. The goal was to create an online archive and exhibit of primary source material. It serves as a supplement to my research on Harlem CORE and an online portfolio for my multimedia work, G-Force Studioz. What follows is essentially a rough draft and notes for a paper I have been working on for a larger project on Harlem CORE. The finishied work, once available, can be found here.

About the 'Exhibit' Section
There should be no significance attached to the fact that are images of certain people and not others in the 'exhibit' or that there are more items for certain people than others. All that means is that I had an easier time finding items for some members as oppossed to others. This is an ongoing project.

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was one of the largest and most influential organizations of the civil rights and Black power movements in the United States (US). Its Harlem chapter, also known as Harlem CORE (HC), was one of the most significant. It was Harlem CORE after 1966 that was responsible for the ideological changes in CORE as it transformed from a nonviolent integrationist organization into one that advocated self-defense, self-determination and Black power.

Locally, its emphasis on community control and protest demonstrations are in many ways responsible for the decentralization of the New York City (NYC) public school system. Many of those who participated in its educational, employment and housing projects after leaving CORE became local leaders as politicians and directors of municipal agencies.

CORE, out of all the major civil rights organizations, has been understudied in general but especially when it comes to its shift to Black nationalism. Scholarly works on the history of Harlem CORE are hard to find and unlike other chapters such as Brooklyn CORE, there is no central archive for historians to access. Basic information is very hard to come by. What ever happened to Harlem CORE?

Who were the leaders, who were the members, and how large was the chapter? What were the main campaigns? How did Harlem CORE operate day to day in terms of administration? How did their work affect the city, Harlem and themselves in the long term? What were the consequences, what were the rewards?

My research makes use of newspaper articles, periodicals, CORE documents,different books on the movement(s) and the scholarship of other CORE researchers (shout out to Dr. Brian Purnell). I have also done several oral history interviews with former members of CORE and Harlem CORE, including neighbors of mine from the Lower East Side. My father was a member, as well, which is what brought about my initial interest.

About the author: I am currently a grad student finishing my M.A. The goal is to get a PhD. I'm a former McNair Scholar and CUNY Pipeline Fellow. My B.A. is in Media. My video and other multi-media work can be seen here.

contact - harlemcore@aol.com

Peace - EJ

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*note - This site is currently being used by the people responsible for developing Omeka, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, as a teaching tool to point out the possibilities of using Omeka to create digital archives. I'm hoping that someone will do the same not for all the other CORE chapters across the country but for other such organizations such as SNCC, the Black Panthers, Young Lords and the Organization of Afro-American Unity, among others. Go for yours...