By AFRO Staff
The historic Arch Social Club of Baltimore has been an anchor of the Penn-North community (literally at the corner of Pennsylvania and North) of West Baltimore since 1905.
Earlier this month the Arch Social Club was honored during the “13th Annual Maryland Traditions Heritage Awards,” which was hosted by the Maryland State Arts Council, at the Proscenium Theatre at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
“The Arch serves as an arts and entertainment venue, having regularly hosted live music and dancing for all of its hundred-plus years,” according to the Heritage Award bio of the landmark club, which is one of the oldest social clubs for Black men in America.
“It also serves as a site for community action, having offered a place for fellowship among its members, as well as a safe haven and dialogue space during and after the 2015 Uprising.”
The Arch was one of the foundational institutions in Penn-North during the 20th century, when the community was a major stop on Black America’s legendary “chitterling circuit.” The community provided platforms for some of the greatest American entertainers in history, including: Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Pearl Bailey, Lena Horne and James Brown, amongst a myriad of others.
The Arch was also a gathering place for Baltimore’s vanguard Civil Rights community and its leaders like, Clarence Mithchell and Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston and Roy Bond, along with a phalanx of other Civil Rights warriors.