Category Archives: History

Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street

Bobby Womack Photo: 159512

We continue to be fascinated by “where Harlem begins and ends”. Not just in terms of Harlem’s physical boundaries.  But in terms of the many changes happening in and around Harlem which alter day to day life within Harlem, as well as people’s perceptions of what Harlem has been, is and can/will be.

Which is why it’s important to stay connected to artifacts connecting us to Harlem’s past.

To that end, a reader from Central Harlem and attending Columbia  University reintroduced us to Bobby Womack’s “Across 110th Street.  Thank you!

The video and lyrics are presented below.  Please take a moment to listen, enjoy, reflect and perhaps most importantly – share.

VIDEO

LYRICS

I was the third brother of five
Doing whatever I had to do to survive
I’m not saying what I did was alright
Trying to break out of the ghetto was a day to day fight

Been down so long, getting up didn’t cross my mind
I knew there was a better way of life and I was just trying to find
You don’t know what you’ll do until you’re put under pressure
Across 110th Street is a hell of a tester

Across 110th Street
Pimps trying to catch a woman that’s weak
Across 110th Street
Pushers won’t let the junkie go free

Across 110th Street
Woman trying to catch a trick on the street, ooh baby
Across 110th Street
You can find it all in the street, oh

I got one more thing I’d like to yell about right now
Hey brother, there’s a better way out
Snorting that coke, shooting that dope man, you’re copping out
Take my advice, it’s either live or die
You’ve got to be strong, if you want to survive

The family on the other side of town
Would catch hell without a ghetto around
In every city you find the same thing going down
Harlem is the capital of every ghetto town
Help me sing it

Across 110th Street
Pimps trying to catch a woman that’s weak
Across 110th Street
Pushers won’t let the junkie go free

Oh, across 110th Street
A woman trying to catch a trick on the street, ooh baby
Across 110th Street
You can find it all in the street
Yes, he can

Oh, look around you, look around you
Look around you, look around you, yeah

Songwriters
WOMACK, BOBBY

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Read more: Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street Lyrics | MetroLyrics

-Herve Jean-Baptiste

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

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“Your feet will bring you
to where your heart is.”

  • Irish Proverb

Happy St. Patty’s Day Harlem!

Martin Luther King Day – Alice Walker Adds Perspective

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I always love Martin Luther King’s day.

It gives me what feels like a special opportunity to get re-acquainted with or newly connected to new and valuable people, places and things.

The link below to an amazing interview with and story about Alice Walker is one of these truly special moments that I want to share with you today.

Alice Walker wrote The Colour Purple among a myriad of other great things.

Video: Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth. Full Film | Watch American Masters Online | PBS Video.

Please take a moment to sit back and enjoy.

QUOTE: Common “Selma is now”

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“I am the hopeful black woman who
was denied her right to vote.

I am the caring white supporter
killed on the front lines of freedom.

I am the unarmed black kid who
maybe needed a hand but was
instead given a bullet.

Selma has awakened
my humanity.

Selma is now.”

  • Common

(* Common and John Legend Win the 2015 Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture.)

The Great Maya Angelou Has Passed On

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Maya Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday, said her literary agent, Helen Brann.

The 86-year-old was a novelist, actress, professor, singer, dancer and activist.  In 2010, President Barack Obama named her the recipient of the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

One of Angelou’s most praised books was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
(read more) Legendary author Maya Angelou dies at age 86

*Fellow Harlemite and friend Norman, writes on his Facebook “There are people that you think will live forever and #mayaangelou is one of them.”

*Another Anne B. writes “I loved her books so much.  I remember first reading them in the 1970s.  She was a favorite of mine and she meant so much to me.”

Obscure Harlem Gems at AtlasObscura (#HarlemObscura)

Harlem Map Obscura
AtlasObscura.com is “an online compendium of the world’s wonders.  In addition to the website we regularly host unique lectures, behind the scenes tours and highly-stylized cocktail galas in unusual places with the hopes of encouraging exploration and discovery amongst our members while sharing these very special historic gems.”
Harlem is on their radar.  For example:
  • There was a recent evening of “high-end historic” cocktails and jazz in the crypt of the Church of the Intercession of Harlem.  The crypt has been described as an “eerie underground crypt” and is adjacent to the sprawling Trinity Cemetery.Attendees included  Joining them were Loren Schoenberg from the National Jazz Museum and stride pianist Jesse Gelber and the Lucky Chops Brass Band.
  • Collyer Brothers Park is a small pocket park in Harlem, providing a temporary reprieve from the surrounding urban sprawl. But visitors taking a break on one of the park’s benches may be surprised to know that the park only exists because of  (click here to read more…)
  • Sylvan Terrace, now a residential community and popular film set location, this property was originally part of the Morris-Jumel Mansion estate. The property was divided, and the Sylvan Terrace was built in 1882 by James E. Ray. The road between the 20 (click here to read more…)
If you have obscure Harlem gems you’d like to share tag them as #HarlemObscura and share them on our social media channels or as comments to this piece, and we will feature them.