Alice Kornegay: Champion of Harlem
For Women's History Month, we are exploring the life and impact of a beloved East Harlem advocate for the African-American community, Alice Kornegay. Born Alice Grace Wagg in Georgetown, South Carolina, she moved to East Harlem when she was 10 years old to live with family members after her parents passed away. Long-time associate Bette Washington stated that she had become active in local issues “at once.”
She studied social work at Baruch College, Antioch College, and the New School for Social Research, and devoted 40 years of her life to social issues within East Harlem. Her community involvement had no end; at any given time, she had been a member of Community Board 11, Community School Board 5, the 25th Precinct Community Council, a treasurer of the Harlem Commonwealth Council, among many other groups. However, she was best known for her work as a Founder and President of the Community Association of the East Harlem Triangle.
Through this organization, Kornegay secured financing for low-income-housing construction, as well as helped establish a variety of vital institutions for the community including the Community Day Care #2, Beatrice Lewis Senior Center, East Harlem Senior Center, and Salvation Army Center.
Kornegay passed away in 1996. However, her legacy is legible in the institutions she established and within the groups wherein she participated. You can also find the Alice Kornegay Triangle playground in her memory at East 128th and Lexington, as well as Alice Kornegay Way between Lexington Avenue between East 124th Street and East 131st Street.