Shane White, Stephen Robertson and Stephen Garton are part of a collaborative team working on everyday life in Harlem in the 1920s, when the neighbourhood became the black capital of the world. Their award-winning web site maps everything from street speakers to parades, traffic accidents to basketball games, house fires to arrests for numbers—the form of gambling invented in Harlem that became its largest black business, and the subject of the team’s recently published book—to recreate what it was like to live in this ‘black metropolis.’ One finding of this research was that Harlem was not the segregated place it has been long thought, but a neighbourhood in which whites remained a significant, influential presence.

Stephen Garton is Professor of History and Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sydney. He is the author of four books and over sixty articles, chapters and encyclopaedia and historical dictionary entries in such areas as the history of madness, psychiatry, crime, incarceration, masculinity, eugenics, social policy, poverty, returned soldiers, masculinity and sexuality.

Stephen Robertson is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. His research areas are twentieth-century United States, history of sexuality, law and society, New York and digital history.

Shane White is Challis Professor of History and an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow at the University of Sydney. His main research interests are in African American history and in the history of New York City.

This was a Humanities Salon and Sydney Ideas co-presentation.