Hello everyone, I pray that your Labor Day Weekend was safe, happy and fun. By the time you read this I will be on vacation. But before I go, I want to leave you with something to do and I will see you when I return. I will not be on social media while I am out of town, unless my son decides to post something about his parents visiting him in South Carolina.
I received a note or I should say a press release from Ronald Miles, the CEO/President of RJY Chick Webb Council, Inc. about the Chick Webb Memorial Recreation Center. I found it to be quite interesting and wanted to share it with you. It seems that Chick Webb Memorial Recreation Center is moving from the darkness into the light.
On August 10, 2021, the Department of Recreation and Parks presented its Construction and Design Plans to the Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation. The Council submitted written a verbal testimony that supported the Department with recommendation to address the nomenclature from a gymnasium to multi-purpose/cultural or wellness center, and the clarity of a teen room to an inter-generational workspace.
Drowned in African American History is the Chick Webb Memorial Recreation Center, located at 1401 E. Monument Street, AKA 623 Eden Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21202. Built in 1947, this Center is the only recreation center in the nation built by renowned African American entertainers, the Black business community, benevolent groups and individuals. The renowned entertainers included friends of the Jazz Drummer, King and philanthropist William Henry “Chick” Webb. The entertainers and friends responded to the “Death bed wish of Chick Webb who stated, to his physician, Dr. Ralph Jonathan Young, “I am sorry I haven’t done anything yet myself, but I’ll call my friend Joe Louis and he’ll fill any house in Baltimore.” Chick Webb died June 16, 1939. Now, check this out, the story gets more interesting.
The house [venue] chosen for the event was the 5th Regiment Armory. More than 7,500 people from all walks of life attended the Chick Webb Fundraising Concert held on February 10, 1940 at a cost of $1.15. The entertainers included: Joe Louis, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, the Nicholas Brothers, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, the Ink Spots, and a host of many others. On the success of the concert Dr. Young stated, “We want to prove to Chick Webb that we mean to do something for the development of Negro youth in Baltimore”.
Anyway, it is so much more to this fascinating story, but the bottom line is that the Department has conducted working group meetings and public meetings to develop the plans for the improvement of the Chick Webb Memorial Recreation Center. In addition to the meetings, the Department conducted a survey to provide data for the improvement of the Center. The RJY Chick Webb Council, Inc. provided outreach across the city and across the country for the purpose of elevating the Chick Webb Center to become an intergeneration center for current and the transformational community. Further, the Council is promoting the Center as a national venue that may spur tourism and economic development.
If you are interested in getting involved or want to support the cause, you can contact Ronald Miles at [email protected] Well, my dear friends, I am out of space and out of time. My Boo-Boo and I am going to continue to enjoy our vacation. Remember if you need me, call me at 410-833-9474 or email me at [email protected]
UNTIL THE NEXT TIME, I’M MUSICALLY YOURS.