The Hotel Olga, Race Retreat Of The Harlem Renaissance, 1920

the-hotel-olgaIn December, 1920, Ed H. Wilson opened a small hotel, the Hotel Olga (which was once called McAvoy’s Saloon), expressly for Harlem’s African-American clientele.

In an era when Harlem’s now iconic Hotel Theresa still loomed as a citadel of racial exclusion, his now idle 3-story building at Lenox Avenue and 145th Street stood as a crucible of black tourism.

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For a quarter century that spanned the storied Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression and WWII, Wilson’s swank haven for “the Race” offered travelers of color a key waypoint in America’s most renowned black community.

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