A week ago during the snow storm, I left my warm apartment and went to Harlem and volunteered with i, Too, Arts Collective which is a non-profit organization committed to nurturing voices from underrepresented communities in the creative arts. They are responsible for renovating the Harlem renaissance poet, Langston Hughes, home.
When I was in college, I went on a date with a young man who grew up in New Orleans. He was crazy about the Harlem renaissance because of his high school teachers. I, who grew up in New York, was crazy about Harlem because of the books I read alone (my high school curriculum skipped majority of my history…really America’s true history). In any case, he took me to Harlem for a date and I remember us standing outside of Langston Hughes home taking about his poems. Then we spoke about what it would take for his home to become a museum. Then, we stopped talking so the conversation pretty much died like a raisin in the sun. However, the dream didn’t because I am now apart of a team of people who are preserving Mr. Hughes legacy by opening up his space and reserving it for writers and other artist to gather.
When I got off the train, I started walking the wrong way and got a little lost. Rafael was across the street. Usually I would pull my phone out and try to find the directions myself but it was too cold for all that.
I crossed the street and asked him the location of Langston Hughes house.
I had to repeat myself because I think I caught him off guard when I said the artist’s name. I then told him what I was into and why I was looking for it.
I am volunteering at the Langston Hughes House, I said, We are renovating it to open it up to the public as a historical site.
It turns out that he used to deliver mail there years ago. He not only gave me the address but also history of how the house looked 15 years ago: I’ve been in the house before. It was not being kept by anyone and all his things were sitting there just collecting dust. Papers and furniture just sitting there. He then looked at me and encouraged me: It’s beautiful to see a young sister like you involved with projects like this. You don’t see this everyday.
When I was in Harlem today, I ran into fashion designer, Chi Atanga, from Manchester, London.
Lovely accent, lovely outfit and beautiful personality. He told me he was on his way back to Manchester but still allowed me to photograph him and told me of his business.
check him out at www.wallsofBenin.com
Some photos I took of classes during the Garden Conference, which was taking place in the Harlem Renaissance school.