One of Harlem’s original sound engineers and photographers, Edward Adams Bagwell, passed on Sunday, April 24. He was 90 years old and died from advanced dementia. Bagwell worked closely with the Amsterdam News during the1960s covering political events during the social justice movement.
Bagwell was known for his sound work in Harlem from the 1960s to1980s. His business was called News Voice International (NVI) and was located on 110th St. and Lenox Ave. Bagwell established NVI in the 1960s as a one-stop resource for Harlem businesses that needed professional photography and sound system installations. His office was a hub for the Harlem elite, prominent social activists, and cultural artists. He was a freelance photographer for The National Urban League (Whitney M. Young Jr. Funeral)), NAACP, JET magazine, the Amsterdam News, and a host of private clients that included The Children’s Television Workshop (“Sesame Street”).
Annually, he was the sound engineer for the Afro-American Day Parade since its onset. He was also booked as a sound engineer for private events at the Audubon Ballroom, Renaissance Ballroom, Rockland Palace, and The Studio Museum.
He installed all the original audio systems in most of Harlem’s Historic Black Churches (Antioch Baptist Church, Convent Avenue Baptist Church, AME Zion, All Souls Church, and La Sinagoga). He is also credited for doing the sound system for the Broadway show “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope.” Bagwell set up audio for live musicians like Babatunde Olatunji at the Studio Museum in Harlem.
Under Mayor John Lindsay’s administration, he was the sound engineer for the “Harlem Cultural Summer Festivals” (1969) held in the five boroughs that featured performers like Stevie Wonder, James Brown, and Jimmy Hendricks.
Edward served in the United States Marine Corps from Jan. 17, 1952, to Feb. 18, 1954. He received the United Nations Service Medal, Korean War Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and a Good Conduct Service Medal.
Edward Adams Bagwell
(Sunrise Nov. 11, 1921 – Sunset April 24, 2022)
Harlem Photographer & Audio Engineer
Friday, May 6th
Viewing -10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Service – 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Saint Michael’s Church 225 West 99th Street NY 10025