About Us

Dorrance Brooks - World War I Hero & Beloved Son of Harlem


Dorrance Brooks (d. 1918), is an African American soldier who died in France shortly before the end of World War I. A native of Harlem and the son of a Civil War veteran, Brooks was a Private First Class in the 15th Infantry. 

In World War I, African American soldiers served in segregated regiments and were not eligible for aid from the Army Nurse Corps or the American Red Cross. In spite of these discouragements, Brooks distinguished himself as a faithful and patriotic soldier. Brooks was praised for his “signal bravery” in leading the remnants of his company after his superior officers were killed.

When this square was dedicated on June 14, 1925, more than 10,000 people were said to have attended the ceremony...

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What We Do


Dorrance Brooks Square is one of the 2019 Six Historic Districts to Celebrate! 


Harlem has experienced a rapid escalation in the demolition of historic sites in recent years to create space for new high-rise residential towers and upmarket commercial space. DBPORA has intensified its neighborhood preservation activities. Due to the successful efforts of the West Harlem Community Preservation Organization, with support from the neighborhood advocacy organizations Save Harlem Now! and the Historic Districts Council, the proposed Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District has received a positive determination of eligibility by the New York State Historic Preservation Office for nomination to both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. To continue the Historic District nomination process, DBPORA raised $3,500 to conduct additional research and prepare our application for submission...

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  Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 7 pm

St. Marks / Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church

49-55 Edgecombe Avenue 

A  Community Meeting was  held  on the proposal to establish the Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District and acquire  mNew York State and National Historic Register status. Representative from the NY State Division of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation werebe available to answer questions. 

Who Should Attend

Property owners, business and community leaders, and residents attended.  For additional information about the benefits of owning a property in a National Register Historic District, visit:


Thursday, May 2, 2019

7:00-8:00 pm


St. Marks / Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church (at West 137th Street), New York, New York 10030g


on the status of the  Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District applications for State Historic District, National Register of Historic Places and New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission status.

MARCH 9, 2019 @ 10AM

St. Marks/Mt. Calvary Church

490-55 Edgecombe Avenue

(137th & 138th Streets) 

Update on the Dorrance Brooks Property Owners & Residents 

Association's (DBPORA) efforts to attain recognition from the NYS Historic Preservation Office/National Park Service State Historic District listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission: 

Our application was successfully submitted in December 2018. As a result, we are holding an informational forum on March 9, 2019 at 10 am at St Marks / Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church located at 49-55 Edgecombe Avenue between West 137th and West 138th Streets. 

Representatives from the Historic District Council ( and other historic preservation organizations will be present to answer questions about the upcoming application process and the impact that the historic designations will have on our community. 


If you are unable to attend but would like to show your support, please copy, fill and send the SAMPLE LETTER (below) using the CONTACT US form on this web site by March 8, 2019.


New York State Division for Historic Preservation 

Peebles Island State Park

Post Office Box 189

Waterford, New York 12188-0189

To the New York State Division for Historic Preservation,

I would like to register my support for the Dorrance Brooks Property Owners & Residents Association's (DBPORA) efforts to attain recognition from the NYS Historic Preservation Office / National Park Service as a State Historic District / listing on the National Register of Historic Places, respectively. 

A residential enclave, this neighborhood east of St. Nicholas Park features remarkably intact and finely detailed residential row-house architecture, built for upper-middle-class professionals in the late 19th century. This proposed historic district is named for the local park dedicated in 1925 that honors African-American infantryman Private First Class Dorrance Brooks, who displayed “signal bravery” in World War I. The square became a rallying point for civil rights protests. Closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance, the area was home to jazz musician Lionel Hampton, and artists such as Augusta Savage and Romare Bearden who created artwork and taught young artists on West 136th Street.  

The Dorrance Brooks Property Owners and Residents Association is seeking official recognition of and protection for the historic character and buildings of this neighborhood and I support them in their efforts as a homeowner for the creation of the proposed historic district. 

YOUR Name / Signature

Address / Date


Dorrance Brooks Property Owners & Residents Association

invites you to participate in our event commemorating the 100th year anniversary of Armistice Day, and the  ending World War I at:


Saturday, November 10, 2018, 11:00 am

(Edgecombe & St. Nicholas Avenues - 136th & 137th Streets)

The Armistice of 11 November 1918 ended fighting on land, sea and air in World War I between the Allies and their opponent, Germany. The segregated 369th United States Infantry, also known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” assigned to fight in the French Army’s 161st Division, served 191 days in front line trenches in France, more than any other American unit, and also suffered the most losses...

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Help Establish the Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District

Your contribution will help our community to achieve Historic District status and preserve historic sites that are currently at risk of demolition. 

Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card