Majestic Hotel

The Majestic Hotel was located on East 55th Street at Central Avenue and was Cleveland’s largest Black-owned hotel in the middle decades of the 20th century. In a period when African Americans could not always obtain fair treatment at the city’s leading downtown hotels such as the Cleveland and Hollander, the Majestic Hotel offered fine accommodations without subjecting patrons to such difficulties. Langston Hughes spent eighteen days there in 1936 working on a play about the Haitian revolution for Karamu House called Troubled Island. Later, when baseball great Larry Doby first came to Cleveland, he stayed at the Majestic as a result of the difficulties of booking a room downtown. In addition, the Majestic became nationally known for its series of nightclubs, especially the Heat Wave and its successor, the Rose Room, which attracted local and national jazz acts. In 1944, Alonzo G. Wright (one of the city’s most successful Black businessmen and real estate investors) and William O. Walker and Lawrence O. Payne (co-owners of the Cleveland Call & Post newspaper), purchased the Majestic, bringing it under Black ownership for the first time. They invested heavily in upgrades, ensuring that the Majestic remained the preferred hotel for most Black travelers for the next two decades. The hotel remained open until 1967.

Green Book Details

Majestic Hotel appears in the Green Book from 1938 to 1967 at 2291 E. 55th St. under the category Hotels.

See also Heat Wave and Majestic Barber Shop.

A view of Cleveland’s largest Black hotel in about 1930 | Source: J. Mark Souther Postcard Collection

Resources

  • “Cleveland Business Boom.” Jet. May 29, 1952.
  • Morris, Shawn. “Majestic Hotel.” Cleveland Historical. https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/636
  • “Majestic Hotel.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. https://case.edu/ech/articles/m/majestic-hotel
  • Odenkirk, James. Of Tribes and Tribulations: The Early Decades of the Cleveland Indians. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015. 202.
  • Sanders, Leslie Catherine. The Development of Black Theater in America: From Shadows to Selves. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1988. p. 71.
  • Sorin, Gretchen. Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights. New York: Liveright, 2020.

2291 E. 55th St

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