The African-American experience in columbus blog
This blog features brief articles on the African-Experience in Columbus from the Underground Railroad to the civil rights era.
By Doreen Uhas Sauer
The King-Lincoln-Bronzeville Neighborhood has long been known for its artistic contributions to the city and to the nation. By the 1920s East Long Street was the center of black commercial, social, and entertainment life. Shops, theaters, restaurants, and jazz clubs proliferated. The Plaza Hotel hosted Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Fats Waller—whose appearances would influence young Columbus musicians and vocalists. The Empress movie theater opened in 1920. Mt. Vernon Avenue was equally vibrant, and in the area, the golden age of music was in the popularity of the jazz clubs in the 1940s, especially after World War II when famous musicians played the local scene. If they played in white downtown hotels, they returned to the neighborhood to play long into the night to large crowds and with local talented musicians. Live jazz could be heard in twenty different clubs. There were also five hotels and two theaters—two of which still exist—the Lincoln and the Pythian (King Arts Complex).