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Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, long known as a major black cultural and business center. After being associated for much of the twentieth century with black culture, but also crime and poverty, it is now experiencing a social and economic renaissance.

In the 1920s, Harlem was the center of a flowering of black culture that became known as the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance was a time of amazing artistic production, but ironically, blacks were sometimes excluded from viewing what their peers were creating. Some jazz venues, including most famously the Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington played, were restricted to whites only. Others, including the Renaissance Ballroom and the Savoy Ballroom, were integrated.