Yusef Salaam, of “The Exonerated Five,” recently won the Democratic primary for New York City Council to represent Central Harlem. The general election will take place in November. According to media reports, Mr. Salaam is not expected to face a serious challenge for the seat. It is time, he said, for “a new Harlem Renaissance,” reported the Associated Press. “To have a voice from a person who’s been pushed into the margins of life—someone who has actually been one of those who has been counted out—is finally having a seat at the table,” Mr. Salaam said in an interview on July 5.
Mr. Salaam and four other Black and Latino teens from Harlem became known as the “Central Park Five” after their arrest in 1989 for the rape of a White female jogger. The teens were innocent. Mr. Salaam served nearly seven years in prison before the group was eventually exonerated through DNA evidence. They served seven to 11 years in prison. Their convictions were overturned in 2002 after a convicted serial rapist confessed to being the only one responsible for the gruesome attack on that day in Central Park.
They were honored in late 2022 with a historical marker and exhibit which was unveiled at the newly commissioned “Gate of The Exonerated” in Central Park, on W. 110th Street between 5th and Lenox Avenues in Harlem.
“Harlem is such a special place that it is known as the Black Mecca,” Mr. Salaam said, after his primary win. “What happens in Harlem reverberates around the world.” (Compiled from Associated Press and Final Call reports)