Chicago: A.C. McClurg, 1911. 8vo, black cloth, 264 pp. Item #List022
A scarce signature of Philip A. Payton, known as the “Father of Harlem” due to his success in the real estate trade in Harlem. Payton played a huge roll in the transformation of Harlem into a neighborhood that was welcoming to African-Americans during the Great Migration. Born in Westfield, Mass., Payton chose not to attend college as his brothers did, instead moving to New York and working as a barber and janitor before starting in the real estate trade. He was able to use white discrimination to his advantage, eventually transforming the neighborhood of Harlem into a welcoming environment for African-American families. The New York Times describes his methods as follows: “As more black citizens arrived, white ones fled, depressing property values and creating more opportunities. Soon Payton became a building owner himself. And by 1904, the year the subway reached Harlem, he incorporated the Afro-American Realty Company to help remake Harlem as a home for black citizens who faced discrimination in housing… He told black investors: “Today is the time to buy, if you want to be numbered among those of the race who are doing something toward trying to solve the so-called ‘Race Problem.’ ” The company’s brochure stated that “race prejudice is a luxury, and, like all other luxuries, can be made very expensive in New York City. The very prejudice which has heretofore worked against us can be turned and used to our profit.” - Adeel Hasaan, New York Times, Jan. 19, 2019. Payton died an untimely death in 1917, but his influence on the city remained far-reaching.
A scarce example of Payton’s signature, housed in a near fine copy of the ninth edition of W.E.B. Du Bois’s important work. We can find no record of the recipients, a Mr. and Mrs. George Winslow.