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If Not Us, Then Who?

While We Are Still Here (WWSH) is a museum without walls. We hold curatorial

meetings with professional curators. We conduct research and consult with scholars

and other experts. We engage community residents, organizations, and institutions

to actively engage in the process of determining how Harlem’s history should be

documented, reflected, and presented in the future.

WWSH is a historic-preservation organization similar to those that can be found from

the Lower East Side of New York City to East L.A. We request access to individual’s

artifacts and ephemera—their personal archives—in order to identify rare information

and materials that enhance Harlem’s rich history.

We are engaged in media documentation and have produced a feature-length film, In

the Face of What We Remember: Oral Histories of 409 and 555 Edgecombe Avenue, which

premiered in April 2018 at Columbia University’s Miller Theater. Currently we are in

pre-production for a film about the oral history of the famed St. Nick’s Pub (see page 4),

which was recently destroyed and later demolished due to a fire.

Our mission helps to ensure that the post-gentrification residents and community

respect and honor the legacy of African-American achievement and its connection to

Harlem’s importance to world culture.

WWSH seeks to build a broad and diverse audience, by presenting high-quality

programs that are, generally, free and open to the public, including the Sugar Hill

Music Festival. WWSH also seeks sustainability and institutional longevity, and

we look to follow the example of impresario Voza Rivers, who has helped transform

Harlem Week into an internationally renowned celebration of Harlem, “The Black

Capital of the World;” and Melissa Walker, founder of Jazz House Kids (an artseducation

organization), who is also the executive producer of New Jersey’s Montclair

Jazz Festival.

WWSH encapsulates and highlights the varied aspects of Harlem’s history, especially

that which emanates from 409 and 555 Edgecombe Avenue. Our efforts have attracted

national media attention— Ebony Magazine, the New Yorker, the Amsterdam News, the

New York Times—as well as international attention in Milan, Italy.

As we honor the contributions of the people of Harlem—the everyday people, the

famous, and the infamous—those whose presence altered culture and style; inspired

intellectual discourse; and sparked social-justice activism, WWSH’s mission and

programming will continue to identify and bring these Harlem-based, culturally rich

narratives to the fore.

WWSH receives the support of

Columbia Community Service

and generous individuals!

Partnership for Parks

Cover photo, Regina Carter; page 1, Firey String Sistas! (Top row, L-R: Mala Waldron, Marlene Rice;

Bottom row, L-R; Nioka Workman, Melissa Slocum, Camille Gainer Jones.

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When Sugar Hill Was Sweet



2018 |


3rd Annual Sugar Hill Music Festival

(formerly Echoes of the Eras)

Regina Carter-Xavier Davis Duo

Sugar Hill Quartet with TC the 3rd

Firey String Sistas!

Uptown Brass Quintet

An afternoon of music, featuring artists of

international renown.

Sugar Hill Luminaries Lawn

Edgecombe Avenue and 155th Street

Harlem, NY

(co-sponsor Jazz Foundation of America)

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| 2018


When Sugar Hill Was Sweet


Reading and Book Signing with MaryLouise Patterson, MD

Letters from Langston: From the Harlem Renaissance

to the Red Scare and Beyond, MaryLouise Patterson and

Evelyn Louise Crawford, eds.

MaryLouise Patterson, a pediatrician in clinical practice, and Evelyn

Louise Crawford, a retired arts administrator and consultant, are the

daughters of Langston Hughes’s cherished friends Evelyn Graves

Crawford, Matt N. Crawford, Louise Thompson Patterson, and William

L. Patterson. Hughes was a frequent guest in the homes of the two

families and was like an uncle to Evelyn Louise and MaryLouise.

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2018 |




Reel Sisters Film Festival Harlem Kick-off

Celebrating Community and Self-Care!

A Collaboration Between Reel Sisters and

While We Are Still Here

This is the Harlem Kick-off of the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival

and Lecture Series. Join us for an afternoon of films produced, directed,

and written by women of color from across the globe! One of the films will

be a 15-minute cut of the feature-length In the Face of What We Remember:

Oral Histories of 409 and 555 Edgecombe Avenue. Families and students

are welcome! Films will celebrate community, self-care, and wellness. For

information, please visit reelsisters.org or call 212-865-2982.

Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series makes history

this year by becoming the first Academy Qualifying Film Festival for

narrative shorts devoted to women of color!

Miller Theatre at Columbia University

116th Street and Broadway

Harlem, NY

Join Reel Sisters 21st Anniversary Celebration!

Harlem Kick off - October 6, 2018

Enjoy a provocative selection of 30+ films produced, directed

& written by women of color!

Miller Theater, Columbia University

Alamo Drafthose Cinema, Brooklyn (Oct. 20-21, 2018)

Tickets & Info:


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When Sugar Hill Was Sweet



3PM (Oral Histories)

7:30PM (Music)

Videotaping the Official Oral History of St. Nick’s Pub

Featuring the

Sugar Hill Quartet

and a Jam Session

On March 22, 2018,

the famed Harlem

nightspot, St. Nick’s

Pub, burned down.

For decades, the

Sugar Hill Quartet

was the house band

for the Monday

night jam sessions.

While We Are Still

Here will be taping

the oral histories

of the members of

SHQ— Patience Higgins, Marcus Persiani, and David F. Gibson—as

well as Bill Saxton, who was also a Pub presence, and other musicians,

patrons, and some of the proprietors, for a film short that will stream

on the internet, beginning March 22, 2019—the one-year anniversary

of the accident.

The tapings take place at the historic Bill’s Place (owned by Bill Saxton

and his wife, Theda). It was the site of Billie Holiday’s first gig in New

York City.

If you would like to share your oral history of St. Nick’s Pub, please

visit wwsh.nyc to register, or call 929-266-3952.

Bill’s Place

148 West 133rd Street

Harlem, NY

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While We Are Still Here (WWSH) ensures that the “post-gentrification” community

of Harlem and beyond will honor and find a meaningful connection to the legacy

of African American achievement, and its paramount importance

to world culture.

Heritage in all its forms must be preserved, enhanced, and handed on to future

generations as a record of human experience and aspirations…

—The United Nations “Declaration on Cultural Diversity and Creativity.”

Founder and Executive Director

Karen D. Taylor

Board of Directors *

Yvonne Dennis Wakim, Author; Native American Rights Activist | Board Secretary

Marline Martin, Greene County Council on the Arts | Board Treasurer

Henry L. McCurtis, MD, Private Practitioner

Stephanie Renee Payne, Instructor, University of Southern California | Board President

Byron C. Saunders, Independent Consultant

Paulette J. Tabb, Educator, New York City Department of Education

Karen D. Taylor, ex-officio

Steering Committee Members *

Herb Boyd, Project “Scholar-Historian-In-Residence;” Professor, City University of

New York; Journalist, Book Author and Editor

Monica L. Gray, Conference and Event Planning Director, National Urban League

Stephen Robinson, MD, MPH

Cheryl Scott, MD, MPH

Judith Stafford, Educator (In Memoriam)

Board of Advisors *

Alexa Birdsong, Co-founder Jazz at Lincoln Center, Independent Concert Producer

Marie Dutton Brown, Literary Agent, Marie Brown Associates

Carmen Cruz, Curator

Jamal Joseph, Professor, Columbia University

Rosemari Mealy, Ph.D., Professor, City University of New York

Mark Naison, Ph.D., Professor, Fordham University

Vera E. Sims, Educator, New York City Department of Education; Board

Member, African Voices Magazine

Michael Thelwell, Professor Emeritus, Founding Chairman of the W.E.B. Du Bois

Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts,

Amherst College

* Institutions Listed for Affiliation Only

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