In 1937, at the height of the swing dance craze, Charlie and Sarah Fitzgerald opened the doors to a supper club in Myrtle Beach called Charlie’s Place, and it remained a popular nightspot for more than a decade. All were welcome, and the mixed crowd defied the color barrier to drink, dance and have fun. The greatest musicians on the southern Chitlin’ Circuit played Charlie’s Place – Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Ruth Brown, Little Richard, Duke Ellington, Etta James, Marvin Gaye and many more.
The good times abruptly ended on the night of August 26, 1950, when the Ku Klux Klan attacked the nightclub. Charlie Fitzgerald was beaten and left for dead. Although this story ends in tragedy, it began with the goodwill of people who were brought together by music and a man who didn’t see color lines. Charlie Fitzgerald created a place of harmony, where music lovers of any color could mingle and dance together, long before the barriers of segregation fell. Charlie’s Place closed in 1965, but today it is the center of efforts to revitalize the Carver Street community. South Carolina ETV shares this piece of South Carolina history as part of its Carolina Stories series. Charlie’s Place will air on SCETV on April 26 at 9:00 p.m. The program will repeat on April 29 at 4:00 pm.
A special thank you to the funders who have made the production possible:
The Rotary Club of Myrtle Beach
Burroughs & Chapin Co., Inc.
Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce
City of Myrtle Beach
The ETV Endowment and SCETV invite you to special screenings of Charlie’s Place.
Monday, April 16
College of Charleston
Room 235, Robert Scott Small Building
175 Calhoun Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Tuesday, April 17
Horry County Museum
805 Main Street, Conway, SC 29526
Please contact the museum for details
Tuesday, April 17
Myrtle Beach Convention Center
2101 North Oak Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577