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Columbia Community Scholars Lecture: Ragtime to Jazz Time: Harlem's Black and Jewish Music 1890-1930

Harlem historian and Columbia University Community Scholar John Reddick takes us on a journey back to when the innovative Harlem rhythms of “ragtime” were the equal of today’s “hip-hop” in their invigorating influence on early 20th-century jazz and popular music. Young Harlem composers like George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, and Lorenz Hart gravitated to these challenging and inspired rhythms introduced by Harlem’s early black composers, including James Reese Europe, H. T. Burleigh, and the theatrical music and comedy team of Williams & Walker.

John Reddick is actively engaged in Harlem’s culture, art and preservation. He’s authored numerous articles and has spoken at the Apollo Theater, The Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museum of the City of New York, among many other prestigious venues.

The Columbia Community Scholars Program, administered by the Office of Government and Community Affairs and the School of Professional Studies, enables independent scholars to pursue their lifelong learning aspirations, whether it be completing an independent project or attaining skills in a particular area. The program helps to foster and deepen ties between the University and the many independent members of the cultural and intellectual community surrounding it.

Presented by Columbia University School of Professional Studies Community Relations Department.


John Reddick, Harlem Historian and Columbia University Community Scholar

Read the Columbia News article on Reddick and the SPS feature; watch his lecture online in six parts:

Program Introductions
Rosamond Johnson – Under the Bamboo Tree
Harlem’s Early Development & Entertainment
Antonín Dvořák & Black Composers
Harlem's Theaters
Lafayette Theater – Black Performance