We are only in July of 2020 and I can’t believe how fast and vicious this year has been. Seven months in and a lot of history has already been made. But let’s go a couple of years back to 1970, a year full of historical events as well. History is never complete without a leader of a nation exercising his military power over others and U.S. President Richard Nixon did just that by ordering an invasion of Cambodia as such widening the war in Vietnam. In protest, millions marched across the U.S and university campuses were shut down by student strikes. It was in the same year that four protestors at Kent State University in Ohio were killed by National Guard troops. It was also in 1970 that the Beatles broke up living millions of fans heartbroken.
With all that was going on in the U.S, 1970s Harlem was undergoing an existential crisis, as anyone who could move, left for other neighborhoods in New York to escape the poor infrastructure and crime. Harlem, located at the northern section of NYC in the borough of Manhattan, is one of New York’s iconic neighborhoods and despite the difficulties, the neighborhood was an undeniably vibrant place. In the summer of July 1970, exactly 50 years ago, French photographer Jack Garofalo was sent by Paris Match magazine to cover the events of the neighborhood. Garofalo photographed the people who stayed and the birth of what was to become a monumental New Yorker culture.
Garofalo’s photos, like a time machine, take us back to the 70s, to a place and time that some of us have never seen.