“Coffee Time for Zora and Fannie” is the second part of a companion book on “traditional” Harlem on paper. The first part, titled “New York: The Traditional Harlem,” was published in 2017.
This graphic is actually drawn from a newspaper cartoon, published in 1928 by Arthur D. Feuer. It shows Muhammad Ali and his boxing partner, Cassius Clay, escorting Zora Neale Hurston, a pioneering anthropologist and a co-founder of The Negro Women’s League, around New York City.
The project originated in 2013 as an outreach to young people around the world who have a connection to the black experience, or the pioneer women whose lives there are part of the fabric of Harlem’s history.
Zora Neale Hurston by Elizabeth Boyle Photograph © Elizabeth Boyle
This program was the brainchild of journalist Elizabeth Boyle, co-founder of the Esquire Magazine Project with the late Stuart Emmrich, and later of the Today in Black and Brown project with the late Professor Ulysses Kalikow. The Today in Black and Brown project was active from 2008 until Kalikow’s death in 2018, and launched in 2013 when Boyle presented the first part of this book project to a young audience in New York City’s Harlem. The success of that program inspired the idea of the cultural imprint of the black experience in New York City on the rest of the world, and its importance in making an impact on young people everywhere.
The project’s goal is for the viewers of this graphic to also meet the people who spoke and lived their lives on the streets of Harlem – from Chinese dance instructors to cabaret musicians and artists – who were on the fringes of the progressive world of the 1920s and ’30s.