BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There is an effort to revive the Royal Theater in Baltimore.
“How can you spend Black History Month and not recognize the Royal Theater and realize it was built by African Americans,” said James Hamlin, chairman of the Royal Theater Community Heritage Corporation.
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The Royal Theater was an icon of the city, where African Americans celebrated music.
“James Brown, The Miracles, Louis Armstrong, Patti Labelle, all of these stars have played the Royal,” Hamlin said.
The Royal was built in 1922, it ran along Pennsylvania Avenue before being demolished in the 70s.
The Royal Theater Community Heritage Corporation just celebrated the Royal’s 100th anniversary this month.
James Dow used to work there, he is now a board member of the Royal Theater Community Heritage Corporation. Founded in 2005, the organization’s mission is to “connect today’s generation to the history and culture of their community and create the lost sense of pride and hope,” according to its website. .
The group works to rebuild the theater and bring other stores and businesses with them to restore Pennsylvania Avenue to its former glory.
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“I miss it,” Dow said. “Having somewhere to go on a Friday, you know, midnight show. All these kinds of things we’ve done.
The Royal lives on thanks to the Royal Theater Community Heritage Corporation and The Avenue Bakery.
James Hamlin is the president of the company and owner of the bakery. The bakery serves as a museum filled with memorabilia from Pennsylvania Avenue Hay Day.
“That’s why The Avenue Bakery,” Hamlin said. “The Avenue Bakery is focused on bringing people back to Pennsylvania Avenue, proving that we as African Americans can rebuild our businesses in our community and be successful.”
Hamlin said the mission could make a difference in the city’s image.
“Normally Baltimore only gets attention when it’s negative,” Hamlin said. “We have to create the positive. We have to change that. We must invest everything we have to make a difference.
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The Royal Theater Community Heritage Corporation is seeking donations to help rebuild the theatre.