In 1964, internationally acclaimed concert soprano Dorothy Maynor, brought a gift to Harlem; her fervent belief that world-class training in the arts stimulates the child, strengthens the family and gives pride of ownership to a community. She opened Harlem School of the Arts in the basement of the St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem at a time when the community suffered severe physical blight, high levels of poverty, and few cultural resources for its young people. From toddlers to adults, the students who came through its doors developed an invaluable sense of purpose and focus, whether or not they pursued profession careers in the arts. The school received rave reviews, and was featured in the May 1966 issue of Ebony Magazine. She became the first black member of the Metropolitan Opera Board.
(sources: Encylopedia of Black America, p. 548; smith, Notable Black American Women, pp.739-40; Southern, The Music of Black Americans, p. 405; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Maynor )