“Strivers’ Row,” Where Many of The Well-to-Do Black People Called Home During the Harlem Renaissance

Written by Jae Jones

“Strivers’ Row was a well-to-do neighborhood during the Harlem Renaissance. The town homes were built in 1890 and located on 138th and 139th Streets between Douglass Boulevard and Powell Boulevard in New York.  It was a neighborhood that mainly attracted entertainers, doctors, educators and those living a high-status life. The founder of “ Swan Records,” Henry Pace, was one of those people who called the area home.

During the economic depression around 1895 many of the homes were and had been abandoned by white New Yorkers, but the company still refused to sell the homes to Black people. So, they sat empty until around 1920, they were they made available to African-Americans for $8,000 each. There were some units that were turned into rooming houses, but most of the homes still attracted African-Americans from high-status quos, or “strivers” who were working hard to make it big.


The homes were designed so that they sat back-to-back, which allowed David H. King (the developer) to specify that they would share rear courtyards. The alleyways between them was quite rare in Manhattan and were gated.  At one time, these alleys allowed discreet stabling of horses and delivery of supplies without disrupting activities in the main houses. Today, the back areas are used almost exclusively for parking. The area today is also noted as being a national and a New York City district that consists of row houses; there are three sets of buildings that sit in the area.






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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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