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Stumping and Eating at Showman’s Café in Harlem

Stumping and Eating at Showman’s Café in Harlem

Postcard of Harlem, New York 1946, Courtesy of the New York City Public Library

Postcard of Harlem, New York 1946, Courtesy of the New York City Public Library

In researching my book Upsetting The Apple Cart: Black Latino Coalitions in New York City From Protest to Public Office, I came across sources describing Restaurants, cafés, and bar and grills where candidates running for public office would hold electoral campaign events. Open since 1942, Showman’s Café in Harlem has been one of Harlem's top jazz spots where one could hear artists such as Eartha Kitt, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday perform. It was also a place where the writer James Baldwin could be seen working on a manuscript. Showman’s also had a top chef with a great reputation for his chicken bites and black bean soup. In terms of campaigning history, showman’s has served as a venue to hold an intimate fund-raising event for African-Americans seeking public office and the support of influencers in Harlem.

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