I am Harry Mitchell, the creator of this electronic scrapbook. For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in the field of photography. Capturing special moments on film has allowed my family, friends and I to reminiscence about the good old days of the 1960’s and 70’s. However, never in my wildest dreams could I have ever imagined that technology, such as the Internet, would afford me the opportunity to share my memories with so many. From Jacksonville, Florida to the “Big Apple;” from the tough Marine training in Parris Island, South Carolina to the tough, infamous stage of the Apollo Theater, this website offers a little bit of yesterday for just about everyone.
In the Apollo Theater section, you will see and hear a variety of entertainers whose names are now synonymous with “greatness”. Relive the sensual sounds of Al “Let’s Stay Together” Green; the smooth song and dance of Gladys Knight and the Pips and the velvet voice of the late WBLS Disc Jockey, “Hollywood” Frankie Crocker. I was fortunate to have had the privilege to meet, hang out and party backstage with a number of famous singers, comediennes, and movie and television stars. I used Super 8mm sound and 35mm still film to record many of the Apollo Theater performances.
As a New York City police officer, I was assigned to the 28th precinct. My partner and I patrolled Post 77, an area known to as 125th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. The NYPD section shows the swearing-in and graduation ceremony of me and approximately 500 of my fellow officers. Although the intensive training of criminal law, weapons, judo, boxing, etc. was designed to prepare me for the unexpected, my greatest education came from the people in the hood. Therefore, I included The Street section to say “thanks” to the store and street merchants; the grandmas and children; the street cleaners and street walkers – those ordinary folk who were passed by and have passed on, but were never forgotten by this retired police officer.
I was one of the few. I was one of the proud. I was a Marine! The USMC section contains photographs and narratives of my basic training in Parris Island, South Carolina. There are also pictures with my buddies during various work details and during liberty. I entered the Marines as a young, arrogant, skinny teenager. I became a General Jet Mechanic and Plane Captain to A4B’s aircraft. I left the United States Marines as a man.
I have also included a Black Health section. Here, you’ll find video clips from “What Every African American Needs to Know About Alzheimer’s Disease, ” an educational video funded by the Mayo Clinic of Jacksonville. I was fortunate to have served as the producer and consultant on this project. Following the diagnosis of my grandfather, I learned that information about respite care and experimental treatments for Alzheimer’s were not getting to the Black community. Testimonials of those individuals who have been in the war with this cruel disease inspired me and underscored the importance of educating people whose lives will forever be changed by Alzheimer’s.
Harlem Anthology is a collection of physical reminders of some of the greatest times of my life. It is my desire to share them with the people that were there with me, as well as to show the younger generations exactly what they missed. If any of these images or sounds touch you personally and take you back to an earlier time, please write to me and share your memories. I also encourage you to do preserve and display your own collection of mementos, as this project has been extremely rewarding to me and the people around me.