10. Marcus Garvey Park
Located from East 120th Street to East 124th Street on Madison Avenue, this community park is named after Marcus Garvey, an influential Jamaican-born Pan-Africanist and political activist. Garvey is known as the founder of the first Black nationalist movement, the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) formed in Jamaica in 1914, which hoped to achieve Black nationalism through the celebration of African history and culture. After moving to Harlem in 1916, Garvey became one of the first activists to advocate that African Americans develop an appreciation of their African descent instead of viewing it as a badge of inferiority. He also founded the African Communities League, through which he declared himself Provisional President of Africa. Marcus Garvey’s fierce promotion of Black nationalism clashed with that of the 1920s Harlem establishment, specifically other Pan-Africanist intellectual leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois, but he influentially advocated for the formation of African American diasporic identity and civil rights.
To commemorate Garvey’s significance to Harlem, Mount Morris Park was renamed Marcus Garvey Park in 1977. The 20-acre park includes two playgrounds, a pool, an amphitheater and public programs and classes for all ages year round. It is also home to a historic fire watchtower, one of the last of its kind in New York City. The park is surrounded by historic 19th and 20th-century architecture that allows observers to visualize Garvey’s neighborhood of the early 1900s. Today, the Harlem community continues to enjoy the park as a community resource and a center of entertainment and cultural expression.
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