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Rockefller Center’s original complex. Fifth Avenue to Avenue of the Americas between west 48th to 51st streets. The Associated Architects (Reinhard & Hofmeister; Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray; Raymond Hood, Godley & Fouilhoux; Edward Durrell Stone), 1931-1940.

View looking west of Rockefeller Center’s Art Deco original buildings with the 70-story R.C.A. Building at center, in 1949. View from 444 Madison Avenue Building.

Photo: Kodakchrome

Source: “New York City, The Wonder City of the World”. New York, Enco, Inc., 1953.

Author Q&A with Carole Boston Weatherford

Why did you choose Arturo Schomburg as a subject?

My mission as an author is to mine the past for family stories, fading traditions and forgotten struggles. Add to that unsung heroes. When my friend and frequent collaborator Eric Velasquez pitched the idea of a Schomburg biography to me, I was intrigued. Like Schomburg, Eric has roots in Africa and Puerto Rico. I detected Eric’s passion for the project and I could not refuse. I believe this is the book that Eric was born to create. Even though the book had a ten year gestation, I am honored that Eric asked me to collaborate. This is our fifth book together.

When did you first learn about Schomburg?

I knew of the Schomburg Center before I knew about the man behind it. I did picture research there in the early 1980s. That was long before there were digital archives online. Back then, I had to wear white gloves to handle vintage photographs. I recall being in awe of the Center’s vast holdings. What I did not know is that Schomburg the man was a bibliophile and a leading light of the Harlem Renaissance, a period I first wrote about in Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood. That picture book is illustrated by Gregory Christie. 

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