Listen to a Harlem resident talking about her neighbourhood and choose the option A, B or C which best completes each sentence.
1 Tourists used to … Harlem.
B love going to
C purposely avoid
A plenty of people visit the area.
B there is a tourist bus in the area.
C very few buses take tourists to that area.
3 Thomas Dorsey was a
A guitarist and composer.
B gospel singer.
C religious leader.
4 Peggy Taylor describes gospel music as 'secular' because
A it is associated with Thomas Dorsey.
B its origins are not religious.
C it is fun to listen to.
5 The rhetoric of gospel preachers has influenced
A jazz music.
B modern chat shows.
C political speeches.
6 In Montgomery, Alabama,
A a social movement started.
B Martin Luther King was arrested for participating in the 1955 Bus Boycott.
C Peggy Taylor was the finance officer of a church.
A has a reputation for welcoming visitors.
B is best visited by going on your own.
C starts in 150th Street.
Harlem is without doubt one of the most fascinating areas of New York. Occupying the section of Manhattan that lies to the north of Central Park, for decades it was considered a dangerous ghetto that white New Yorkers — and tourists — tended to avoid.
Yet all that has changed and now busloads' of European tourists go there, to enjoy the wonders of soul food and music.
Peggy Taylor works for Harlem Spirituals Gospel and Jazz Tours. We began by asking her to define gospel music.
Gospel means the first four books of the New Testament, so you're talking about the birth of Christ, you're talking about a very joyous occasion. And gospel music itself was created by a blues guitarist named Thomas Dorsey —not to be confused with the band leader Thomas Dorsey. This was another Thomas Dorsey and he called his music 'gospel blues' and he wrote the famous song, Precious Lord, Take My Hand.
Gospel, somebody said, is really the music of Saturday night with Sunday morning's words. So you have something that is at once religious, but also secular; secular in the music, in the beat, in the syncopation, but the sentiment is religious.
In addition to the fabulous music, another part of the appeals of attending a gospel ceremony is listening to the powerful rhetoric of the preacher. The speeches of Barack Obama clearly contain this element. Peggy Taylor, who grew up in Alabama, had first-hand experience of an even more charismatic preacher.
I was a member of Martin Luther King's first church, which was in Montgomery, Alabama, which he became pastor of at the ripe young age of 26! And my father was the finance officer of the church, a long-standing member, and so I was, of course, a member and I listened to his sermons every Sunday and we participated in the famous Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, which really began the civil rights movement.
Back in Harlem, Peggy Taylor admits that things have improved dramatically.
Tourism in Harlem today is a very accepted thing. People realise now that Harlem is not dangerous, they can even come to Harlem on their own, but, of course, I recommend that they come with a tour first, in order to get the lay of the land. Harlem is a vast, vast neighborhood and if you really want to get an overview of Harlem, you should take a tour first and then you come back on your own. And everybody has their guide books and they know now how to get to 125th Street, and they know that they can go to the museums, to the Schomberg Library, to the night clubs. People have a much easier way of seeing Harlem today and I think that's very positive. And the Harlemites are very accepting of it, too. People just take it for granted now that tourists come to Harlem.
1C 2A 3A 4B 5C 6A 7A