This playground is named for Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878-1949). He traveled the vaudeville circuit and became its first major African American star. His elaborate routines, including his unique “stair dance” made him a headline performer, and his extravagant habits helped create a larger-than-life persona.
Widespread publicity and his tap-dancing talents earned Robinson a starring part in the Broadway revue Blackbirds of 1928, and later roles in films beginning in the 1930s. Several films paired him with child-star Shirley Temple, and Stormy Weather (1943), his last of 14 motion pictures, co-starred singer Lena Horne. Amassing great wealth, Robinson gave away most of his earnings to charities and local organizations. Robinson’s commitment to the community earned him the honorary title Mayor of Harlem.
Discover the history of Bill Bojangles Robinson Playground
Learn about the trials and triumphs of the black experience in the United States and how New York City honors black history in our parks today.