Day 24 – Phillip A. Payton: The Father of Harlem

The day really got away from me and I was heckled for trying to research and draft my post while at a gathering. Thanks Shavell! 😁

But I will not let you or myself down because I said I would bring it for the entire month.

Welcome to Day 24 and the story of a black real estate pioneer named Phillip A. Payton Jr., who made his dream come true of placing black families in apartments in Harlem, New York.

Phillip was born in Westfield, Massachusetts in 1876 and worked in the family business (hair) until moving to New York in 1889.  Do you remember my post a few weeks back on the redlining of neighborhoods? Well this is exactly what was going on in Harlem, which was a blatant form of residential segregation.

In June 1904, he established the Afro-American Realty Company with a simple mission: erase the color line in Harlem and make lots of money in the process.

“My first opportunity came as a result of a dispute between two landlords in West 134th Street. To ‘get even’ one of them turned his house over to me to fill with colored tenants. I was successful in renting and managing this house, after a time I was able to induce other landlords to, give me their houses to manage.”

Please check out this article for a more in depth look into the man and his mission.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.