Mosaic ‘Spirit of Harlem’ Returning to Frederick Douglass Blvd at 125th Street




Image via the artists’ website,   Spirit of Harlem, 10 feet x 30 feet

The iconic mural ‘Spirit of Harlem‘ by artist Louis Delsarte was replaced this week with painted black brick, sporting signage of one of the new shops in the commercial space at 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

Today, just 6 days after our original post, we received good news, in a statement from Barbara Askins, as follows:

“BID has been in communication with property owner. The wall is coming down. Tenant nor owner have any issues with mural being displayed”  

Thank you, 125th Street BID.

The beloved mural was commissioned by North Fork Bank in 2005, and continued to maintain its place in the community when Capital One Bank moved in. Artist, Louis Delsarte created the ‘Spirit of Harlem’ mosaic as a tribute to to the plethora of artists within the Harlem community.

One of the workmen assured us that the mosaic was fully intact underneath the black brick facade.  However, reassured – we were not.  We hope the next tenant will ~ Tear down that wall.  We believe the owner of the property resides on the second floor ~ United House of Prayer for All People, a large and prosperous religious organization and major real estate holder in the area.

Image as of December 7, 2017

Link to Petition to restore “Spirit of Harlem” initiated by Maira Liriano, Associate Chief Librarian at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

The National Coalition Against Censorship (, linking to our post above, is monitoring this development, and also linked to petition in the comments section of the above post.

Read about the historic Julien Binford mural, currently under threat, on West 14th Street.

On a positive note, read about the new 100 Gates Project in East Harlem, new Taino Towers mural, #Education is Not A Crime (#NotACrime) throughout Harlem, Dizzy’s 100th Birthday mural (part of #NotACrime), the White Park Art Wall, Guerrilla Wall, historic murals of El Barrio, and the historic Harlem Gates of Franco the Great.

Save the Date for Spirit of Community at Harlem Hospital, currently on view.


19 thoughts on “Mosaic ‘Spirit of Harlem’ Returning to Frederick Douglass Blvd at 125th Street

  1. This is an abomination!! I am so sick of the ignorance and insensitivity of some people. What makes them think it’s okay to completely cover up a beautiful piece of art that has honored Harlem since 2005. The people of Harlem will be shopping in the new store. The company will benefit from the revenue. Why would they think it’s okay to cover up a tribute to those very same people. The store should be boycotted.
    There should be an organized effort to avoid the store until they take that wall down. The “wall” has such a negative connotation that the people of Harlem should fully denounce it. Please do not shop there until they take the wall down. We, as a people, actively should not accept this kind of treatment. Show pride for the painting and for your community.

  2. How disrespectful to cover the mural with a faux black wall. We have to boycott these people to show them that arrogance plus ignorance won’t work in our community. Their bottom line is money…gonna keep my money in my wallet.

  3. It is a shame and a disgrace that this beautiful art work has been black-washed! As much as so many things black are disrespected, I am shocked when it occurs once more. Could the company have asked the neighbors if that mural by well-known artist, Louis Delsarte was something they wanted to remain in Harlem? I think they could have. How about restoring it to show your good will, Footaction?

  4. That was totally unnecessary to cover it up. A Footaction sign could have been placed above the mural as a sign the company was conscious of the importance of the mural. Disgusting. But a boycott and demonstration should have occurred before and during the erection of the wall before the damage was done.

  5. This is incredibly sad. One of my absolute favorites in the city. This is so so insulting to the artist and the community.

  6. This is shameful and evidence of the ongoing erasure of culture in the “new” Harlem. And could you PLEASE correct the spelling of Louis Delsarte’s name, thank you. He doesn’t need to suffer the indignity of having his name mispelled as well as having his artwork disappeared. Thank you. (See his website here:

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