Hot off The New York Times calling the impending destruction of Harlem's Renaissance Ballroom "cultural genocide," a new petition calling upon Mayor de Blasio to help save the historic venue has started circulating. Over the course of its 60-year life, the theater hosted a massive collection of Harlem luminaries, from big bands led by Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington, to Joe Louis prize fights, to NAACP anti-lynching meetings. Its genesis as a neighborhood cultural hub roughly coincided with the early years of the Harlem Renaissance, the arts movement that fundamentally transformed Black America.
The petition already has around 1,200 signatures and is calling upon the city government to throw its weight behind the preservation effort, citing the "incontrovertible historical value" of "the Renny." And, honestly, anything to save it from this boring fate.
· Halt the Destruction of Harlem's Historic Renaissance Casino [Change.org via Harlem+Bespoke]
· All Renaissance Ballroom coverage [Curbed]