Books: North Toward Home

THIS WAS HARLEM: 1900-1950 by Jervis Anderson Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 390 pages; $17.95

Thirty years ago, the nameless hero of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man emerged from the subway for his first impression of Harlem: "I had never seen so many black people against a background of brick buildings, neon signs, plate glass and roaring traffic . . . They were everywhere. So many, and moving along with so much tension and noise that I wasn't sure whether they were about to celebrate a holiday or join in a street fight."

Ellison's Harlem began...

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