|Top Hat Club/
186 1/2 Auburn Avenue
Sweet Auburn Historic District
Original Use: Night club with two storefronts.
Present use: Night club with two storefronts, one of
which is serving as a restaurant.
1937- Jesse B. Blayton, Clayton R. Yates and Lorimer
Milton organized a corporation known as BLMIYA, and opened
the Top Hat Club on Auburn Avenue. Known as "Club
Beautiful", the Top Hat Club was considered one
of the finest clubs for African-Americans in the country (
p116 Going Against the Wind)
1949- The Royal Peacock was
opened and owned by Carrie B. Cunningham. Egyptian revival
became the decor (similar to the Fox Theater) and peacock
feathers were cascaded down the side of the building from
the street facing windows. Wednesday and Saturday performances
were reserved for whites.
Cunningham also operated the Royal Hotel and Restaurant
for visiting performers unable to stay at white hotels, This
building was formerly located next to Big Bethal and is now
a parking garage.
The Top Hat Night Club and later the Royal Peacock hosted
top performers including Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Aretha
Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong,
B.B. King, the Supremes, and Gladys Knight and the Pips (Gladys
was a local born Atlantan). Basking in this brilliant atmosphere
out-of-town celebrities such Joe Loius, Jackie Robinson and
Muhummad Ali could frequently be found at the Royal Peacock.
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