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24 Beautiful Pictures Of Harlem In The Mid-20th Century

Journey to the bustling streets and smoky jazz clubs of Harlem during the mid-20th century.

Posted on February 7, 2018, at 4:55 p.m. ET

Herbert Gehr / Getty Images

Streetcars run past the Apollo Theater, Loew's Victoria, and movie theaters on a busy afternoon on 125th Street in Harlem, 1944.

Herbert Gehr / Getty Images

Performers on amateur night at the Apollo Theater in 1944.

Roger Smith / Getty Images

Two Marines walk down a street in Harlem during World War II in June 1943.

Getty Images

Left: Sculptor Augusta Savage works on a piece in her Harlem studio in 1938. Right: A group of young girls play beside a flooded street drain in 1947.

Stan Wayman / Getty Images

Teenage boys play a game of stickball in 1958.

Getty Images

Left: A couple kisses in the hallway of a Harlem apartment building in 1942. Right: A woman and her dog take in the sights from their open window in 1943.

Keystone-France / Getty Images

A man reclines for a straight-razor shave in the 1930s.

General Photographic Agency / Getty Images

A woman is given a manicure in a beauty salon, 1933.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Cootie Williams plays his trumpet in a crowed Harlem ballroom with Duke Ellington's band in the 1930s.

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Couples swing dance at the Savoy Ballroom during the late 1940s.

Hans Von Nolde / AP

Lee Moates and Tonita Malau show their winning dance style during a Lindy Hop competition at the Savoy Ballroom on April 24, 1953.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Sugar Ray Robinson tends a crowded bar on Seventh Avenue between 122nd and 123rd streets on June 25, 1953.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Women entertainers dance at Smalls Paradise, a Harlem nightclub, in 1929.

Getty Images

Left: A jazz band performs in a smoky club, 1938. Right: Women enjoying a jazz concert, 1944.

Robert Kradin / AP

Service members are entertained at the weekly Saturday night United Service Organizations dance held at the YMCA on Feb. 7, 1942.

Weegee (Arthur Fellig) / Getty Images

A young man joins in the dancing, 1944.

Weegee (Arthur Fellig) / Getty Images

A young man falls asleep in a chair to the amusement of a woman in the surrounding crowd, 1945.

Cornell Capa / Getty Images

A group of girls wait to go downstairs for a debutante cotillion on March 1, 1950.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Brides and grooms kiss at a double wedding in 1940.

Stan Wayman / Getty Images

Two men walk down a street in East Harlem at night, 1958.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.