This grouping of photographs are taken from an extensive project entitled: Harlem: Hidden in Plain Sight. The project began in 2008 and its goal is to document, through photography and interviews, the diminishing presence of African Americans in Harlem in the context of entrenching gentrification. More importantly, to depict African Americans in non-demeaning stereotype involved in cultural or activities in Harlem. This grouping is entitled: Voter Registration. This sidewalk venue was arranged by several formerly incarcerated individuals to encourage those who, similarly, may have a criminal record to register to vote. Also, to inform there was a movement, Unblock the Block, to protest restricting their right to vote. In addition, to further increase black voter registration. My statement on the overall project is to illuminate a slice of the Harlem community unseen by outsiders as well as its current residents that tellingly depict the vagaries of life here. Having lived here over 50 years, I have fostered a network of relationships that could only be accomplished through trust. Trust is the passport into their lives. Black people are very angry about gentrification and their assistance to this project was thrust out of the belief I would handle their images responsibly. And cardinally, that their images will be used to tell the poignant story of the time when Harlem was a proud black community—despite how maligned it has been portrayed historically as just a black ghetto.
March 5, 2016