This week’s Kent History Quiz Question was:

When music promoter Charlie Graves brought Little Richard to Chestertown, where did he perform?

  1. Chester River Yacht & Country Club
  2. Chestertown Armory
  3. Hunters’ Club
  4. Uptown Club

THE ANSWER: Chestertown Armory.

Kent Pilot file photo: Chestertown Armory

Charlie Graves opened his night club, The Uptown Club, in the 1950s and was a promoter of African American music stars. Graves effort to promote these artists was an integration icebreaker, history shows.

In 1950, he brought Ella Fitzgerald to Chestertown. She traveled from Baltimore by steamboat to Rock Hall. She performed at the GAR Hall on South Queen, then owned by an African American benevolent society, now the home of Sumner Hall. The GAR Hall was a social center from the Scott’s Point community.

By the time Graves booked Little Richard to perform in Chestertown in the late 1950s (we have never confirmed the performance date), the Bay Bridge had been opened, the Supreme Court had struck down school segregation, and rock and roll was fueling a social revolution. Little Richard’s performance at the Chestertown Armory, just down the road from the old GAR Hall, demonstrated that change.

 Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey contributes to the Kent County History Quiz.