Program / Menu from the Cotton Club

About the Project

The Cotton Club was Harlem’s premier nightclub in the 1920s and 1930s. The club featured many of the greatest African American entertainers of the era, including Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, and Ethel Waters. However, while the performers were black, the club only permitted white audiences. Nonetheless, the Cotton Club launched the careers of many African American performers including Fletcher Henderson, who led the first house band in 1923, and Duke Ellington, whose orchestra was the house band from 1927 to 1931. Cab Calloway's orchestra took over for Ellington’s group in 1931 and Jimmie Lunceford’s band followed in 1934. Lena Horne began her career as a chorus girl at the Cotton Club and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Sammy Davis Jr. performed as tap dancers.

Many of these acts are featured in this program “The Cotton Club Parade: World’s Fair Edition.” Help us transcribe this program and step into a night at one of the most well-known nightclubs in New York.

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