The Great Black Way

Way down south, around 35th Street, 47th Street, and Garfield Boulevard, lies Chicago’s great Blackbelt.  It is a “city within a city;” it speaks its own language and has its own churches, schools, dance halls, movie palaces and five and ten cent stores; also, it has such institutions unique to the locality as barbecue stands, East India herb shops, and black-and-tan* night clubs.  It is, in short, the Harlem of Chicago.

Now, in keeping with the times, white people visit the Blackbelt in great numbers.  Mainly they come at night, and late at night, to partake of the happy-go-lucky and joyous spirit supposed to be inherent in the Negro soul.  This they find in the black-and-tan night clubs, where Jazz is expressed in a way that could never be duplicated in any white cabaret.  All is lively, lurid, noisy and “hot” in a Negro night club, and the proceedings get much “hotter” as the night wears on.  Here, also, are the Negro “blues” singers, the amazing tap dancers, those high-yellow chorines,** and those snare drummers and saxophone artists who seem almost possessed by wild demons.  Here, too, among the patrons, you will find the dashing dandies of the Great Black Way and their amber-eyed fair companions—as well as successful Negro lawyers, politicians, business men and professional men.

Many white people, on the other hand, come down to the Blackbelt for sightseeing purposes, and not a few come to partake of delicious Southern dishes offered in the various high-class restaurants and tea rooms of the district.  There are three or four such places where Southern foods are prepared by big Negro mammys, as skillful in handling a frying-pan as they are in their ability to produce laughter and good cheer.

Both black-and-tan night clubs and Negro restaurants are included in the following list, which is selective and contains only those places of good repute.  Incidentally, if you want to retain the few rubles left in your pocket after a visit to a black-and-tan, do not walk about on the deserted side-streets of the Blackbelt at a late hour.  Like a good little boy, stick to the lighted highways.  And another thing: Don’t forget that when you are in the Blackbelt you are in an alien world—superficially, at least—and that there are ladies and gentlemen among the Negroes as there are among the whites.  Therefore, the Golden Rule applies here as it does anywhere else.  Now then, be on your way and enjoy yourselves!

* Allowing both black and white patrons.

** Chorus girls

Map:

Restaurants:

Grand Terrace
Poro Tea Room
The Golden Lily
Club El Rado
Ritz Club
The Sunset
Duck Inn
Chapman’s
King Tut’s Tomb
King George’s

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