Manhattan district, used figuratively for "African-American culture" by 1925. The N.Y. community was founded 1658 and originally named Nieuw Haarlem for Haarlem in Netherlands, which probably is from Dutch haar "height" + lem "silt," in reference to its position on a slight elevation on the banks of the Spaarne River. The black population grew rapidly in the decade after World War I. Related: Harlemese.
updated on October 10, 2017