[Segregated Jazz Club] The World Famous Cotton Club: Program and Menu
New York: Cotton Club, 1936. Saddle-stapled, in illustrated wraps. Offset. 4pp. 10 x 13 in. Very good, with wear and discoloration to wraps commensurate with age. Item #6736
Program and Dinner menu from the notorious segregated night-club Cotton Club, promoting Dan Healy’s “Cotton Club Parade,” a show featuring Cab Calloway and the dancer Bill Bailey.
“A Jim Crow club for gangsters and monied whites,” the Cotton Club originally opened in Harlem in 1922, looking to provide, as Langston Hughes put it,”an authentic black entertainment to a wealthy, whites-only audience.” The club displayed popular technologies in brutish and racist segregation with “jungle music” and a plantation-themed interior. Black people could not initially attend the club as guests (and when they later did, it was in a hostile, segregated, and mocked fashion); they worked in the club as major entertainers: musicians Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway were there spring-boarded into fame.
The program prominently exhibits racist imagery and language, documenting the brutal systems of capture and commodification that jazz musicians were forced to contend with.