Who We Are


Artist: Tesfaye Tessema

While We Are Still Here was formed as a response to the threat that the historic significance of 409 and 555 Edgecombe Avenue (as well as Harlem, in general)— would be lost and gone forever, partially due to the passing of time, and partially due to  “gentrification,” which is rapidly altering the environment. 


While We Are Still Here (WWSH) will educate, enshrine and preserve the extraordinary legacy of Harlem as an influential incubator that was vital to the intellectual, cultural, social, and political advancements of the Harlem community as well as the African Diaspora.


While We Are Still Here ensures that the “post-gentrification” community of Harlem and beyond will honor and find a meaningful connection to the legacy of African American achievement, and its paramount importance to world culture.


“…[H]eritage in all its forms must be preserved, enhanced, and handed on to future generations as a record of human experience and aspirations, so as to foster creativity in all its diversity and to inspire genuine dialogue among cultures.” 

—From the United Nations’
Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and Creativity, Article 7

Individual Donors

Adele Logan Alexander
D’Faye Anderson
S.E. Anderson and Rosemari Mealy
Allison Arlotta
Priscilla T. Bassett
June Benjamin
Alexa Birdsong
Carolyn A. Butts
Randy Brooks
Marie Dutton Brown
Jean Angel Campbell
Carmen Cruz
Gayle Davis
Yvonne Wakim Dennis
Paul Deo
Victor Edwards
Paula Elliot
Ade Faison
Calvin Forbes
Collette Fournier
Claudette Furlonge
Laverne Gaither
Jewel Gittens
Jewel Gittens
Stephanie Nazalima Gittens
Joseph Harris, MD
Sandra Hawkins

Beverly Dafua Henley
Glenn A. Hunter
Chaumtoli Huq
Vijaya Hogan
Debra A. James
Patricia Spears Jones
Deborah Kaple and Miguel Centeno
Sheree Leonard
Michele Maserjian
Odette M. McNeil
Kerry Muir
Mark Naison
Barbara O'Farrell
Daniel Perlstein
Sharon C. Peters
Judee Rosenbaum
Magdalene Sears
William Seraile
Vera E. Sims
Morgan Smith
Paulette J. Tabb
Karen Taborn
Shirley Taylor
Stephanie Walcott Thomas
Gregory Williams
Mabel Wilson


African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund
African Voices/Reel Sisters
Apollo Theater 
Barnard College 
The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture
Broadway Housing Community/Sugar Hill Children’s Museum 
i, too, collective (defunct) 
National Museum of African American History and Culture 
Save Harlem NOW!
Teachers College—Harlem Education History Project 


Association of African American Museums
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Institutional Donors

Columbia Community Services
Harlem Community Development Corporation
Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund
Humanities NY
J. Rosamond Johnson Foundation
Jazz Foundation of America
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council/Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone
Medical Center Neighborhood Fund
Mellon Foundation
National Trust for Historic Preservation African American Cultural  
Heritage Action Fund / This project was funded by a grant from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
New York Community Trust
New York Life
Puffin Foundation
West Harlem Development Corporation


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