SCETV will feature the original documentary, Charlie’s Place, on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 9:00 p.m. as part of Carolina Stories. Charlie’s Place tells the story of an African American nightclub in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that was a significant stop on the Chitlin’ Circuit in the segregated South. South Carolina Humanities supported this documentary with a Planning Grant and a Major Grant.
Charlie’s Place tells an important story of race relations in South Carolina and the history of popular music. The owner of the nightclub Charlie’s Place, Charlie Fitzgerald, welcomed blacks and whites to his club, where they danced and listened to music together, defying segregation. Many popular black dances of the era found a white following there, including the famous Myrtle Beach dance, the shag. In 1950, Charlie’s Place was attacked by the Ku Klux Klan, and Charlie Fitzgerald was beaten and left for dead. Although this story has elements of tragedy, it is also the tale of a man who didn’t see color lines and of music that brought people together.
Image: Charlie’s Place, courtesy of US17CoastalHighway.com
In the summer of 2015, the City of Myrtle Beach purchased Fitzgerald’s motel and the adjoining land where Charlie’s Place once stood, for the purpose of preserving this important piece of history. On April 11, 2017, the city issued a proclamation recognizing the significance of the site. Today, a group of Myrtle Beach citizens are working to develop the motel and club property into a destination for cultural tourism, with a museum and a performance center that would act as catalysts for economic development of the Carver Street community. The documentary Charlie’s Place will bring additional attention to this effort.
Several public screenings of Charlie’s Place are also planned in April.
Monday, April 16, 2018, 6:30 p.m. – College of Charleston, Robert Scott Small building (Room 235), 175 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401; hosted by ETV Endowment
Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 1:00 p.m., Horry County Museum, 805 Main Street, Conway, SC 29526; hosted by ETV Endowment
Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 6:15 p.m., Myrtle Beach Convention Center (Ballroom C), 2101 North Oak Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; hosted by ETV Endowment; REGISTER ONLINE
A trailer of the film can be viewed now on the SCETV website: https://video.scetv.org/video/3006401855/.
The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state. It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.
Image: Swing Dancing; American swing dancers Hal (1917 – 2012) and Betty Takier (1939) dancing to the music of Artie Shaw at the Palomar Ballroom, Los Angeles, California, 1939; Property of Getty Images