Musician, composer, arranger and jazz orchestra leader Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born in Washington, D.C. in 1899. He moved to New York in the 1920s and became a central figure in the booming jazz scene after becoming the leader of the house band at Harlem's Cotton Club in 1927. His signature song, "Take the A Train," was a tribute to the attraction and fascination of Harlem's night life. 

Musician, composer, arranger and jazz orchestra leader Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was born in Washington, D.C. in 1899. He moved to New York in the 1920s and became a central figure in the booming jazz scene after becoming the leader of the house band at Harlem's Cotton Club in 1927. His signature song, "Take the A Train," was a tribute to the attraction and fascination of Harlem's night life. 

First Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, born and raised in the West Indies, came New York at the age of 17 to attend Kings College, now Columbia University. He built a home, Hamilton Grange, in Harlem two years before his death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

First Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, born and raised in the West Indies, came New York at the age of 17 to attend Kings College, now Columbia University. He built a home, Hamilton Grange, in Harlem two years before his death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

James Mercer Langston Hughes was born in Joplin Missouri in 1902. He moved to New York in 1922 to attend Columbia University. Hughes became captivated by the Harlem community and dropped out of school to became a poet, social activist, playwright, columnist and one of the  leaders of the Harlem Renaissance. 

James Mercer Langston Hughes was born in Joplin Missouri in 1902. He moved to New York in 1922 to attend Columbia University. Hughes became captivated by the Harlem community and dropped out of school to became a poet, social activist, playwright, columnist and one of the  leaders of the Harlem Renaissance. 

Althea Gibson shows the first tennis racket she used in 1942 on the streets of Harlem to Tiny Huston, 9, and her sister Monica, 1, in New York City, July 11, 1973.  Gibson was born in Silver, South Carolina in 1927 and soon moved with her family to Harlem. She struggled in the classroom but excelled in sports and found her way to the Harlem River Tennis Courts in 1941. Gibson went on to win the Wimbeldon and U.S. Open championships in 1957 and 1958.

Althea Gibson shows the first tennis racket she used in 1942 on the streets of Harlem to Tiny Huston, 9, and her sister Monica, 1, in New York City, July 11, 1973.  Gibson was born in Silver, South Carolina in 1927 and soon moved with her family to Harlem. She struggled in the classroom but excelled in sports and found her way to the Harlem River Tennis Courts in 1941. Gibson went on to win the Wimbeldon and U.S. Open championships in 1957 and 1958.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917. At the age of 16 she dropped out of school and began dancing at Harlem's Cotton Club to help support her mother. Horne performed on Broadway and signed a seven year contract with MGM studios appearing in the movies Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky. She became active in the civil rights movement and throughout her career refused to play role demeaning to African Americans.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1917. At the age of 16 she dropped out of school and began dancing at Harlem's Cotton Club to help support her mother. Horne performed on Broadway and signed a seven year contract with MGM studios appearing in the movies Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky. She became active in the civil rights movement and throughout her career refused to play role demeaning to African Americans.