Schools in Harlem have been employing local residents to teach their students about the rich history of their neighborhood. The program, set up by the Harriet Tubman Learning Center and Apollo Theater, pairs students with neighborhood residents. The students get a unique oral history of periods such as the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights Era. The program could be recreated in other schools and neighborhoods.
Various civil organizations in the city, such as the Tenement Museum, record oral histories for teaching and archival purposes. The Harlem program, however, is more interactive. The program also speaks to growing concerns that historic areas of the city are being overdeveloped.
As the pace of gentrification in the city excels, there is a growing concern over preserving historic neighbors and their populations. Some bills have been brought up to address this issue, but they often come against powerful development and business interests. For the most part, the Bloomberg administration has sided with developers, green lighting large projects like the High Line and Barclays Center.
The next mayoral election may change the dynamic and pace of city development. Keep an eye on New York legislative bill tracking to see what is being done to develop and protect the city.