Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

September 8, 1926

On September 8, 1926, the New York Amsterdam News ran several stories about and advertisements for the Savoy Ballroom. The Savoy Ballroom opened in March 1926 in Harlem (on Lenox Avenue between 140th and 141st Streets) and quickly became one of the most popular venues for jazz music and dancing. A large advertisement in the Amsterdam News encouraged readers to come to the Savoy for the Grand Fall Opening on September 15th. “From that night on SAVOY will be the center of all that is social and cheerful...Come to the SAVOY next Wednesday night. You will really enjoy yourself beyond your wildest dreams.”  

The Amsterdam News ran an article promoting the opening as well: “The doors will open promptly at 8:30 and the dancing will continue well into the night. It will take hours to present the many stars and features on tap and all Harlem is looking forward to this event, which marks another milestone on the way of progress of the Savoy, truly the world’s finest ballroom.”

The paper also reported on a minor controversy regarding a recent dance contest in which the second-place contestant was discovered to be related to one of the judges. “The moment it is found that a judge in an affair of this kind is related to a contestant, the affair becomes all wet and it is time to get upon the housetops and cry unto high heaven,” the article suggested. This controversy seems to reflect a rivalry between the Amsterdam News and an upstart black newspaper in New York call the Tattler. In any case, it is clear that many black New Yorkers were reading about the Savoy in the fall of 1926. 

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