Playing the Chitlin’ Circuit in Mississippi

Clarion_Ledger_Sun__Jul_12__1942_

Back in the September 5th round-up, Thomas Rosell mentioned the upcoming Mississippi Valley State University lecture series on The Chitlin’ Circuit, the name that emerged for the African American music venues under segregation.

I am familiar with several Chitlin’ Circuit venues on the coast, such as the 100 Men Hall in Bay St. Louis, but I am unaware of what the survival rate of these places is statewide (Thomas Rosell, MissPres News Roundup 9-5-2017).

For the most part, the answer is “not good.”  Earlier posts have highlighted some of the Mississippi venues for travel accommodations featured in Victor Green’s travel guide.  The map below highlights those locations from 1939 (the first year Mississippi was included) through the last publication in 1964.  Locations were clustered along the major North-South corridor (Chicago-New Orleans route) and East-West corridor (Meridian-Vicksburg route).1964 Mississippi Green Book Locations

Although there were far more locations on the Chitlin’ Circuit in Mississippi than were ever included in the Green Book, Green’s enterprise named several of the music and night club venues.  Among them were Canton’s Blue Garden Night Club–later rebuilt as the New Club Desire, Columbus’ Queen City Hotel, and McComb’s DeSoto Hotel and Club.

Thanks to the Mississippi Blues Trail markers, it was fairly easy to determine the locations of the most significant clubs on the circuit, and a little more map sleuthing helped to identify the locations still standing–albeit in a variety of states of “standing.”  While no claim is made to include a comprehensive list, the following are those locations that appear to be extant:

Other famous locations on the circuit that are either not extant or unknown include:



Categories: African American History, Blues Sites, Historic Preservation

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5 replies

  1. Great post. Ask and I shall receive!

    In Biloxi the Blue Note and the Shalimar buildings are still standing on Main Street, but other Main Street clubs are gone including the Kitty Kat, the Little Apple, the Big Apple, Beck’s Desire, Jackson’s Casino, and the Paradise.

    Also is this the first time that the word ‘vibraphone’ has appeared on MissPres?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am Betty W. Sago and my husband is Monroe Sago. We are the owners and operators of the Rhythm Night Club On Site Memorial Museum located at #5 St. Catherine Street, Natchez, MS. The Museum was opened August 16, 2010. Please note that info is available about the Rhythm Night Club.

    Like

  3. Stevens is stil standing on Farish! I recently combed through some microfilm at the Library Commission and gathered a whole bunch of amazing news & ads they ran from 66-68. There’s also some great photos in the African Americans of Jackson book.

    Liked by 1 person

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