Throwback Thursday: The Harlem Armory

harlem armory, 369th regiment

Throwback Thursday: The Harlem Armory

Can you Imagine being a black soldier fighting for America in 1913 during World War I  for freedom while being denied that in your own country?  I can’t!  It’s hard enough being black now. Fortunately America and the rest of the world, there was a group of brave black soldiers, one of the 1st African-American regiments of the New York National Guard called the 369th Regiment. This group of brave black soldiers named by the Germans as the Hell fighters for the ferocity they brought to the battlefield, not only brought guns with them to France but America’s music, jazz.  The home of these brave black men was built in 1933 right here in the heart of Harlem on 142nd and Fifth Avenue. Their home is the Harlem Armory.


The Harlem Army is a huge, medieval times like building standing tall in the middle of Harlem, looking over the east river. It’s a site to see; and rightfully so, as the home of black unbeatable men. After the 369th Regiment returned from France, the Harlem Armory was built as a place for units to train, meet and store equipment.

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In 1991, the Harlem Armory thankfully was listed as a historical landmark, making it a permanent fixture in the community. Today, the Harlem Armory houses the 369th Regiment Museum and the Harlem Children’s Zone recreation center. Recently, the Harlem Armory received a 46 million dollar grant to preserve things like the grand entrance, eagle sculptures, update the building and more. Unfortunately, because of this maintenance, the 369th Regiment Museum filled with artifacts and photographs is temporarily closed until 2017.


However, if you’re in the neighbor take a nice Spring stroll around the Harlem Armory. Stare at the star and spearhead-shaped bars on the windows. Take in this building dedicated to an unconquerable group of black soldiers who took on the cause of freedom for not only themselves but the world.


369th Regiment
If you can’t wait until the 369th Regiment Museum to reopen, then you can check out a temporary 369th Regiment exhibit at the Brooklyn Armory.

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(c) by Latoya Coleman
Edited by Carlton Mabrey






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