About the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, a Puerto Rico–born black scholar and activist for African-Americans and Latin Americans of African descent, moved to Harlem in 1891, where he would eventually become an instrumental voice of the Harlem Renaissance. In addition to writing, editing and publishing groundbreaking essays and literature, he was a collector of relics such as slave narratives and art objects. The New York Public Library bought Schomburg's personal collection in 1926 and later named him curator of the library's West 135th Street branch. Now known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the library has preserved Schomburg's legacy—he died in 1938—of documenting the experiences of people with African backgrounds.
While you're in the neighborhood: Located in central Harlem, the Schomburg Center is close to plenty of delicious dining options to round out your visit. If soul food's what you crave, try Miss Maude's Spoonbread Too or one of Jacob Restaurant's two Harlem locations. For French classics like steak au poivre and mussels Provencal, hit Yatenga French Bistro & Bar (the spot is named after a region in the West African country of Burkina Faso). Londel's Supper Club, meanwhile, offers Cajun, Creole and Southern comfort food that, on Friday and Saturday nights, comes paired with free jazz. If you want to add creative cocktails to the food and live music mix, check out the Shrine Bar, where patrons quaff libations like the Afro Trip (a take on the dark 'n' stormy) and the Roofo-Roofo (Malibu rum, Grand Marnier and a variety of juices) while eating eclectic fare and listening to world beat.