It’s Way Back Wednesday, day 5 of National Park Week 2021 – and we’re going back in time to a dirt-floored music venue in then-rural Georgia.
The Lithonia Country Club, now gone, was an important part of African-American life in the Atlanta area during of the 20th century. This music venue and gathering place hosted musicians who have now become iconic parts of American history: Little Richard, B. B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, Elmore James, and many more. According to some performers, the Lithonia Country Club was as significant a venue to play as the Royal Peacock in downtown Atlanta or the Apollo in Harlem. Located north of historic downtown Lithonia, the Country Club allowed Black people to celebrate and relax in the Jim Crow South. Here is a taste of the voices and music that made people dance and make merry at the Country Club:
The Country Club wasn’t just a music venue – it was also home to the Lithonia Speedway. The Speedway hosted popular stock car and motorcycle races, and the Country Club hosted beauty pageants as well as barbecues, charity events and more. You can discover more about the speedway, and the dentist who helped bring it to prominence, here.