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Biographies

Founder and Executive Director

Karen D. Taylor is driven by her passion to bring the cultural history of Harlem to the forefront of now, and to keep it relevant for generations to come. Inspired by the national discussion on “gentrification,” Ms. Taylor is moved to steward the creation of programming that wraps the arts and humanities in a package that is a gift to the future. She has served as interim director for the Roundtable of Institutions of Color, housed at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service, New York University, a research arm of the school that was devoted to assessing the state of African American and Latino communities. Ms. Taylor has also served as managing editor for Scholastic Books and Amistad Press. As a fundraising-development professional she worked for the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Feminist Press at the City University of New York (CUNY), and the Brecht Forum.

She has also conceptualized and produced academic conferences, concerts, colloquiums, and workshops for institutions that include the CUNY Graduate Center’s Office of Continuing Education and Public Programming; New York University; and the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College. These events ranged from Women of Color: The Forgotten Members of the City, to Pops: Celebrating the Centennial of Louis Armstrong, to If You Live In Harlem, Please Don’t Breathe Deeply, regarding air pollution in urban environments.

She is also multi-genre artist, who has appeared as a vocalist and poet at the Schomburg’s Women In Jazz series; and at Transart’s Jazz In the Valley, she premiered a spoken-word/music tribute to Jayne Cortez, A Jazz Fan Looks Back. Ms. Taylor has also performed as a playwright in the New York International Fringe Festival. She received a commission from Harlem Stage’s Fund for New Work; and grant support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. During her diverse career, Ms. Taylor has also worked in various editorial capacities for the University of North Carolina, Audubon Magazine, and Taylor & Francis-an academic and scientific publisher, as well as others. As an adjunct professor of English at the College of New Rochelle, she taught writing and composition. She has also taught creative writing to adults at DC37, and to young adults in 1199’s youth programs. She has been a Harlem resident for thirty years.


Scholar-Historian-In-Residence

Herb Boyd is a journalist, activist, and professor, who has authored or edited twenty-two books, including his most recent one, Civil Rights: Yesterday and Today. His book, Baldwin's Harlem, a biography of James Baldwin, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He, along with Robert Allen, received an American Book Award for Brotherman—The Odyssey of Black Men in America, An Anthology. We Shall Overcome, a media-fusion book with narration by the late Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, is used in classrooms all over the world, as is his Autobiography of a People and The Harlem Reader. His articles can be found in such publications as the Black Scholar, the Final Call, the Amsterdam News, Cineaste, Downbeat, and the Network Journal, among others.

Mr. Boyd has scripted several documentaries, including several with Keith Beauchamp, on cold cases of martyrs from the Civil Rights era that were shown on the Biography Channel and TV One. With filmmaker Eddie Harris, he was the writer on three documentaries—“Trek to the Holy Land,” “Cri de Coeur (Cry from the Heart)”, and “Slap the Donkey” that tracks the Reverend Al Sharpton's presidential bid in 2004. The latter film was shown at the Montreal Film Festival.

For more than forty years, he has taught at institutions of higher learning. Currently, he teaches at the College of New Rochelle in the Bronx and at City College New York.