Harlem Social Club

The Harlem Social Club opened on September 25, 1941. The proprietor, Alright “Al” Murdock, had previously run the Ever-Ready Beer Garden for six years before selling it to the Workingmen’s Social and Literary Club in 1941. He sold the Beer Garden to take time off for his health following a car accident. Only a few months later he announced he would be opening the Harlem Social Club at 9811 Cedar Avenue. After three years, Murdock turned management of the club over to a Mrs. Catherine Person. Part of the club’s operation included a baseball team. Many clubs and bars had their own teams for baseball and other sports. In 1958, the club lost its liquor license for selling liquor on Sundays and for selling to non-members, and was forced to close on October 31 of that year. While the article frames this as a permanent closing, it seems that the club was reopened at some point with a new manager, Merritt Stepp. The club hosted an antique liquor event in November 1959 and a birthday party for Stepp in November 1961. There is little information in the Call & Post about the year between the club closing and holding the antique liquor event, and no mention of the club reopening, or why it reopened, and there is no more mention of the club following Stepp’s party in 1961. There were several other clubs and organizations that used the name Harlem. It was common for Black-owned clubs to use the names of popular clubs from Harlem in New York City, and to use the name Harlem itself.

Harlem Social Club owner Alright Murdock | Call & Post, July 8, 1944

Resources

  • “Alright Murdock Resigns at Harlem Club.” Call & Post. July 8, 1944.
  • “Display Ad 11 — No Title.” Call & Post. August 9, 1941.
  • Fuster, John. “About the Stars; Stage, Radio, Screen.” Call & Post. December 2, 1961.
  • “Harlem Club Features Antique.” Call & Post. November 28, 1959.
  • “Harlem Club Loses Permit.” Call & Post. October 25, 1958.
  • “Lure of “My Public” Draws Jovial Alright Murdock Back to Bright Lights.” Call & Post. August 30, 1941.
  • “Other 3 — No Title.” Call & Post. July 5, 1941.
9811 Cedar Ave

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