Arch Social Club
A Cornerstone of Culture, Civics, Community, and Commerce
For nearly a century the Arch Social Club has stood proudly as a cornerstone for Baltimore’s African American civic, political and cultural life. Established in 1905 as a meeting hall for BLACK men in a then-segregated city, the club brought together tradesmen, laborers, clergy, professionals and entrepreneurs to craft strategies for addressing the issues of the day and to fellowship with one another.
Located at the center of Baltimore’s famed Pennsylvania Avenue, a primary stop in Black America’s storied “chitterling circuit”, the Arch Social Club and others on “The Avenue” opened doors to patrons from all walks of life and offered their stages to the likes of Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway and Pearl Bailey, Lena Horne and James Brown. The club also served as a meeting place for the civil rights movement, hosting NAACP leaders Clarence & Juanita Mitchell, Thurgood Marshall, Charles Hamilton Houston and others.
In recent years, the Arch Social Club served as safe-house and comfort station during the demonstrations that followed the death of Baltimore’s Freddie Gray.
As Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Avenue, a designated American “Main Street” stands poised for revitalization, the Arch Social Club is once again set to play a pivotal role as plans are formed to establish an African American Arts & Entertainment District at its front door.
Through the proposed construction of a new theater marquee, the Arch Social Club will serve to “shine a light” on efforts to redevelop this formerly vibrant commercial corridor and welcome a new generation of activists, artists, entrepreneurs and patrons to “The Avenue”.
As we launch a campaign to raise awareness and the funds required erect a “state of the art” marquee at the entrance of the Arch Social Club, lighting the way for the progress to come, remember
“It Starts at the Arch”…