Monday, August 4, 2014

Chicago and The Chitlin Circuit Part 2

Mound Bayou, Mississippi restaurant, 1939 (Courtesy of Library of Congress) 
The Regal Theater, Southside of Chicago, 1941(Courtesy of the Library of Congress) 
Early in her career, Gladys Knight performed in a house band on the chitlin circuit where she played at “roadside joints and honky-tonks across the South,” she recalled. “No menus. No kitchens. Just a grizzly old guy selling catfish nuggets, corn fritters, or pig ear sandwiches in a corner.” The circuit went beyond small hole-in-the-wall clubs, however. Elaborate African-American-operated theaters like the Regent in Washington, D.C., the Uptown in Philadelphia, the Apollo in New York, the Fox in Detroit, and the Regal in Chicago, were big-time venues considered part of the circuit.

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