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In Harlem, in the footsteps of Malcolm X

In his black beanie with “Harlem” sewn in large white letters on his head, the skinny Neal Shoemaker fidgets in his dusty little room at the Harlem Heritage Tours and Cultural Center. He tells the story of his neighborhood with passion, and seems almost inhabited when he recites by heart the speeches of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. On the yellow walls, photos of the main African-American figures of the civil rights movement. Neal strides towards the door: “There, just in front, is the mosque where Malcolm X was preaching.” We are on Lenox Avenue, renamed Malcolm X Boulevard in 1987. At 116th Street. In this New York neighborhood that is undergoing full gentrification, Malcolm X is still very present. Just scratch a little.

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