City honors nightclub where Ray Charles sang during Jim Crow

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CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina city is putting up a historical marker to commemorate a nightclub renowned for hosting Black musicians and patrons in the segregated South.

The city of Clemson purchased the marker in honor of the Littlejohn Grill, The Greenville News reported.

The venue opened after World War II and stayed open until the 1960s, hosting many blues, jazz and rock ’n’ roll entertainers. They included James Brown, Harry Belafonte, and Ray Charles.

The Littlejohn Grill was a part of the “Chitlin Circuit,” a string of venues where Black entertainers were able to perform during an era when Jim Crow laws denied them access to whites-only stages in the South, the newspaper reported.

The building was eventually demolished in the 1980s. In its place is Littlejohn Community Center, where the marker will be erected.

The proposal for the state historical marker was submitted by the City of Clemson and the Pickens County Historical Society, said Edwin Breeden, who oversees historical markers for the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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