The venue on Lenox Avenue was first opened in 1920 as the Club Deluxe, under the ownership of the former heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. Owney Madden took it over and in 1922 changed its name to the Cotton Club; the club’s manager in the early 1920s was Don Healy and the stage manager was Herman Stark. After race riots in Harlem in 1935, the area was considered unsafe for Whites (who formed the Cotton Club’s clientele and the club was forced to close (16 February 1936). It reopened in September 1936 downtown on West 48th Street, in premises that had formerly housed the Palais Royal and Connie’s Inn (1933-6); the Cotton Club continued to operate at this location until June 1940.
Become a Harlem insider - Sign-Up for our Newsletter!