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June 11, 2020

Life in Harlem in 1970 Photographed by Jack Garofalo

In the summer of 1970, celebrated French photographer Jack Garofalo spent six weeks in Harlem, a neighborhood that was facing an existential crisis, documenting its residents and their life. Left in Harlem at the time were the people who could not afford or decided not to move since large numbers of Harlemites who were able to escape from poverty had already left for the outer boroughs and suburbs in search of better schools, housing and safer streets.

However, the difficulties and desolation did not mean the neighborhood was lacking in any vibrancy and vitality, as clearly shown in Garofalo’s lively shots. Take a look back at the place in 1970 through 28 photographs below:

A group wearing boubous pose in front of the store of Allen Montego.

A group of boys wearing multi-colored toques and tunics on street.

People at the exhibition of Falayemi at the Harlem Gallery.

Painter Falayemi posing in front of the Harlem Art Gallery which he opened.

A hairdresser combing the new trendy wig for his client.
Portrait of a young black woman.

A couple sitting next to a statue.

Young couple holding hands.

A happy woman.

Two women.

A young woman wearing headband.

Transvestites walk freely in a street.

A man wearing feathers, black boubou and panther-patterned bands dancing in the street.

A married couple smiling before getting in a limousine.

A married couple and their family bombarded with rice grains.

Dance class.

National Memorial African book store.

A bookstore extolling the 'Black Spirit.'

A smiling seamstress in front of her sewing machine.

A window of the Black Panthers' headquarter decorated with posters of imprisoned leaders.

Telephone booths reserved for African-Americans.

An Indian street vendor of crushed ice flavored with syrup.

Puerto Rican children in a car.

Mother and son walking hand in hand.

Three young men in suits.

Man smoking while walking down a street with a fellow behind.

A group playing cards around a table on the sidewalk.

A family grilling meat on the sidewalk.


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