6. Harlem became a safe haven for Black theater in New York City
With the influx of African Americans to the neighborhood during the Great Migration, Harlem came to be known as a center of Black culture in the United States. One institution that has gained worldwide fame is the Apollo Theater. When the theater first opened its doors in 1914, it was as the Hurtig & Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater, a whites-only establishment. After being purchased by Sidney Cohen in 1933, the theater reopened one year later under its current name, beginning to cater to the community’s Black population.
Some of the world’s brightest stars have played at the Apollo Theater, including Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, and Billie Holiday. The theater also played an influential role in the Civil Rights Movement, becoming the first theater to allow mixed-race audiences after its reopening. On television, the Apollo Theater has served as the basis for Showtime at the Apollo, a nationally syndicated variety show to present new talent.