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Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Little Harlem Hotel, 1930s - 1990s

This biography was originally released on August 17, 2022 as a part of our on going series titled: Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Written by Madison Matthews on the Staff of The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission

The Little Harlem Hotel was owned by Ann Montgomery Woodson which was her ice cream parlor before she turned it into her hotel. The club was open from the 1930s through the early 1960s and the club collaborated with the Colored Musicians Club and other clubs during that time period.

In the beginning of the opening of the Little Harlem Hotel, they focused on showcasing new and upcoming performers to allow them to better themselves and start their career. Some of these performers include Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday. As well as Bing Crosby, Vincent Lopez, Cab Calloway, Dinah Washington, and many more.

The hotel was also known for giving young people jobs and helping them establish careers. Woodson would allow the young people to work at the hotel to make enough money to finish their education. 

Sad to say, the club was destroyed by a fire during the 1990s but it was known as one of the oldest established black businesses in Buffalo, New York.


Thank you to our sources:

We want to give a special thanks to Digital Collections,, and Buffalo Rising for providing the information for this story. Further readings on The Little Harlem Hotel are available on their websites.

If you have additional resources about The Little Harlem Hotel, please email us to let us know!

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