Harlem Night Club~small's Paradise~black Americana~swing~vintage 1951 Postcard
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Harlem Night Club~small's Paradise~black Americana~swing~vintage 1951 Postcard:
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Harlem Night Life ca. 1951Small's Paradise ~ Night Club~~~~~~~~
Original Vintage Post Card
Very good to fine condition
Background history of the Club:
Nightclub owner Ed Small opened Small's Paradise on 22 October 1925. The large basement club featured a big band and floor shows and could accommodate 1,500 patrons. Customers vied for space on the postage-stamp-size dance floor while Charleston-dancing waiters brought Chinese food and bootleg liquor to the small tables. One waiter who went on to greater fame was Malcolm Little, later known as Malcolm X. He worked at Small's in 1943.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Small's was considered one of the Big Three nightclubs in Harlem, along with the Cotton Club and Connie's Inn. Charlie Johnson & His Orchestra was the house band for the first decade. After hours, musicians from Harlem and downtown stopped by to jam. Small's Sunday night jam sessions became legendary.
While nightlife dimmed in Harlem by the mid-1930s and other clubs closed or relocated downtown, Small's remained open. In the 1960s, basketball great Wilt Chamberlain bought Small's and dubbed the club Big Wilt's Small's Paradise. The club finally closed in 1986.
The building that for so many years hosted great music and dancing was converted to the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change in 2004. The public high school is sponsored by the Abyssinian Development Corporation, associated with Abyssinian Baptist Church.
Major Noble George Washington Winner was born in LaMotte, Iowa, on July 12, 1869. He joined up with the Barnum & Bailey Circus at the age of 18 and performed with them at least until 1891. In 1896, while appearing with the John Robinson & Franklin Bros. Circus, he met Mary Jane Gongaware, who was born in Letonia, Ohio in 1878.
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