Dear Harlem Prep family and friends,
Happy final few days of summer! I hope each of you are well -- national news notwithstanding -- and that the remaining days of August are restful. I apologize for the delay in this latest post! As I mentioned in my June update, I was moving to Los Angeles from New York City, and happy to say that I have successfully made the coast-to-coast move. However, all the logistics and changes have created in a whirlwind in my life, and again, I apologize for being so out of touch...until now!
Now that I'm settling in my new home and my mental "headspace" is clear for Harlem Prep, there are a few updates that I am excited to share:
1) A few more "goodies" from the archives and beyond: Before I left New York, I took one more deep dive into the archives to find whatever else might be possible regarding Harlem Prep. It's funny the way things work out, because after traveling to Texas and upstate New York and other places for documents, the last place to look was right under my nose: the Schomburg Center for Research in Research and Black Culture. Of course, I looked for material on Harlem Prep many years ago there, but, they also have a semi-organized collection on the New York Urban League. So, I went to check it out and since the NYUL founded Harlem Prep, it was a goldmine of information about the early years of the school! Below are a few samples I've uploaded to view.
- Harlem Prep "Opens" in NYUL newsletter: click here to read/view the NYUL's announcement of Harlem Prep opening in Fall 1967, from two different issues.
- "40 Acres and a Mule" newspaper: have you heard of this publication? This newspaper, with the aptly titled name, started in 1967, with local stories being written by students in the NYUL's "Street Academy" program, which, at the time, included Harlem Prep. While Harlem Prep broke away from the NYUL by spring 1968, several students continued to write in this publication. It's a treat to read the news of the block and of the world during this time from students' perspective (including that of Harlem Prep'ers)! Plus, there is some great coverage of the Prep's opening, too. Click here to read the first issue in November 1967 and click here to read the April 1968 issue. I actually took photos of every issue in the archives (more than a half dozen!), and when I have some extra time, I will work on putting them altogether and sharing more.
- Photos courtesy of Casey Carpenter, Ed and Ann Carpenter's daughter: also before I left New York, Casey was kind enough to meet with me, and we were able to dig up tons of pictures of Harlem Prep. We do not know exactly when they were taken, but based on a few clues, approximately 1977 and 1978 (post-independent status). Many of them are of graduation, and click here to view them.
2) News and notes in the Harlem Prep universe: there are always things going on!
- Reunion update: as many of you know, Harlem Prep alumni (and myself) decided to post-pone the 50th anniversary celebration until spring 2018 to give us all more time to plan and raise funds. Sometime next spring, we are, at the bare minimum, going to plan an educational conference on Harlem Prep at Teachers College, Columbia University. This event will include a panel of alumni discussing their experiences and conversation about how Harlem Prep can inform educators and administrators in the present. Please do reach out to us if you are able to participate in this effort!
- New book releases from the Harlem Prep family: Dr. Hussein Ahdieh, a teacher and assistant headmaster at Harlem Prep, released a new book a few months ago that I wanted to pass along. It is a fascinating juxtaposition of the women's rights movement in Iran and America. Click here for more information. In addition, Harlem Prep alumnus ('67) Alberto Cappas just released an original book of quotes. I know that I've enjoyed reading them, so feel free to click here for more information about this book as well. (Alberto also was one of the frequent writers in 40 Acres and a Mule.)
- My chapter on Harlem Prep teachers to be part of a published volume: I am excited to share that a chapter about Harlem Prep teachers will be part of a edited collection about teacher resistance to be published sometime by Routledge Press in 2018. This collection of essays by historians will feature stories of teachers, historically, who inspired students and resisted against the status quo. Sounds like Harlem Prep, right?! The goal of this book is to likewise inspire and inform teachers today, learning from the past. I currently have a rough draft chapter written, and if you would like to read it, please reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alright, that's it for now! I am back at it -- so to speak -- and so do expect another update in September. As promised before, I intend to provide a rough sketch outline of my Harlem Prep dissertation/book that I will be working on for the next two years. And, of course, please contact me or comment below if you have any questions or concerns! Thank you for letting me continue on this journey and allowing me to tell your beautiful story.