A sign that teenagers were coming into their own was an ad introducing the “Hep Shop For High-Schoolers” at Brown’s Bon-Art Clothes at 306-14 Nicollet Ave. The graphic is of two youngsters jitterbugging.
The Sportsman’s Club sponsored a jam session with the Navy Band and members of the Count Basie, Duke Elliington, and Cab Calloway bands at the CIO Hall on January 7. They must have all been in town. Subsequent jam sessions were held on February 4 (featuring “Chickee”), February 11 (Cab Calloway’s Orchestra invited), and February 18 (singing lyrics by “Chickie”).
Marian Anderson made her annual appearance in the Twin Cities on January 14, 1945, at the Concert Bowl at the Minneapolis Auditorium. This performance was a recital.
Rook Ganz was in trouble again in February 1945 when he was arrested on a charge of white slavery for transporting a 19-year-old girl from Minneapolis to Deadwood, South Dakota, for immoral purposes. He was arrested by the FBI and held in the Hennepin County jail under $5,000 bail. Turns out Ganz’s real name was Wilbur Thompson, according to the Spokesman (Hilliard Thompson according to Joined at the Hip). The trumpeter had led the orchestra at the El Patio in St. Louis Park and was a popular dance entertainer.
The Navy Band and guest artists provided the music for a Sunday night jam session at the CIO Hall on February 25. A Gigantic Floor Show was also in store – featuring “Chickee.”
The Elks Grand Ball and Popularity Contest was held by the Ames Lodge on March 2 at Norway Hall, with music by Walter Lear’s Gents of Rhythm.
The Friendly 16 Club gave a picnic-dance on May 30 at Norway Hall, with music by Jimmy Tyler’s Blue Rhythm Boys.
Howard Brown and His 5 Great Knights of Rhythm appeared at the Elk’s Rest in June 1945.
Brutus Cassius, owner of Dreamland, opened the 38th Street Canteen on October 19. The venue was specifically for teens aged 15-18 and was to be supervised by the mothers of the kids. It was open Fridays from 8:30 to 11:30 and Sundays from 5:30 to 9pm. It was located at the corner of 38th Street and Fourth Ave. and had a “Coke Bar” and “a vendor.” Cassius and wife Florence had two teens of their own: Donald Brutus, 16, and Alvedia Eugenia, 17, both students at Central High in Minneapolis.
20 Limited, Inc. gave a First Anniversary Dance at the CIO Hall on October 20, 1945. Fun and Favors for All, Music by Jimmy Baker and His Jive Band, featuring “Miss Cherry” and his floor show specialty.
Local band singer Mary Walker appeared with Paul Thomason and his Sweet Rhythm band at the Post Cafe in St. Paul in October 1945. The band members, who also sang individually and as a group, were:
- Paul Thomason, piano
- Mym Carter, bass
- Reuben Floyd, trumpet
- Ernie Lewis, drums
The Railroad Men’s Social Center sponsored their First Annual Benefit Ball at the CIO Hall on October 27, with music by the Rhythm Kings. The group’s goal was to raise funds to buy equipment and a location for a recreation center. “Such a project is needed at this time more than ever, with Negro veterans returning from war and service camps, and no facilities to offer them. With the indoor season coming, and nowhere to g, it is advantageous to promote such an establishment for the community welfare,” urged the Spokesman.
The two Black Elks Clubs in Minneapolis, Ames and Minnehaha, sponsored a Grand Halloween Ball at Norway Hall. Music was provided by Sir Walter Lear and His Rhythmeers, featuring Mose Evans, vocalist and emcee.
The Friendly Sixteen Club gave an Armistice Day Dance on November 11, 1945 at the CIO Main Hall, with music by “Popeye” and His All-Stars.
Famous blind jazz pianist Art Tatum made his first Minneapolis appearance on November 14, 1945, in the Concert Bowl of the Minneapolis Auditorium. Tatum had been reluctant to travel outside of New York. The promoter was C.C. Milkes of Greater Minneapolis Attractions.
Marian Anderson appeared with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra on November 23-24, 1945, at Northop Auditorium.
The Blue Monday Club have a Cabaret Dance at the CIO Hall on December 2, 1945, with music by Howard Walker’s Rhythm Kings.
After a hiatus during the War, the Mayor of Bronzeville contest was back, with a goal of being more than a popularity contest. The theme was “What will the Negro Contribute to the Postwar Era?” 1940 Mayor Jimmie Slemmons was again elected Mayor, with a close edge over Edward “Gene” Harris of St. Paul, who dubbed himself “The Man with the Atomic Personality.” A crowd of 700 people came to the Inaugural Ball at Norway Hall on December 7. Minneapolis Mayor Hubert Humphrey attended the Ball and made remarks, while Minneapolis Spokesman editor and sponsoring Associated Negro Credit Union vice president Cecil Newman served as emcee. Music was provided by Howard Brown and His Orchestra.
The Melodee Record Shop, 706 Hennepin Ave., (See Record Stores) began to advertise in the Minneapolis Spokesman. A squib says “All of the top Negro orchestra recordings are available at the Hennepin Ave. store.” The first ad said “Jazz Headquarters – Latest Blues, Folk and Jazz Records – WE GOT EM!”
Another was the Olson Highway Phonograph Record Shop, 1307 Olson Memorial Highway, Maurice T. Strong, proprietor. Also known as Maurice’s Record Shop, it sold Swing, Sweet Blues, and Spirituals