Soul Of America




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Freedom Corner Memorial, Pittsburgh



Pittsburgh, PA

Freedom Corner Memorial

DESCRIPTION: Began as protest site directly across from St Benedict the Moor Church the protest was spurred when in the 1950s when Downtown development encroached on the lower Hill district, which is a traditional African American enclave; protesters posted signs at this corner which said “NO REDEVELOPMENT BEYOND THIS POINT”; they were modestly successful at preserving housing for African Americans, now the challenge is to prevent the displacement of the poor; when last visited fundraising efforts were continuing for a monument at Freedom Corner

ADDRESS: Centre Ave at Crawford Street

Crawford Grill
DESCRIPTION: This historic Jazz club was as elegant as any in the country; nearly every great jazz musician since the 1940s 20th century has played or visited here -- their photos grace this luscious interior; sadly, the owners closed this historic club to focus activity on the Crawford Grill at Station Square appealing to an upscale downtown crowd

ADDRESS: 2141 Wylie Ave

Webster Grill
DESCRIPTION: One of Pittsburgh’s historic jazz nightclubs; this boarded up building was barely saved from the wrecking ball; rivaled Crawford Grill as the most happening spot in the 1940s - 60s

ADDRESS: Webster Ave in the Hill District

Ammons Field
DESCRIPTION: The ballpark of the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the personal playpen of the all-time greatest Negro Leagues Baseball home run hitter, Josh Gibson; Josh hit more home runs (962) than Hank Aaron in a career and more home runs (84) than Barry Bonds in a season; a well rounded hitter in a powerful 6’1, 210 pound body, he displayed the skills of a Negro League Baseball immortal; some who played with against Josh Gibson and Babe Ruth refer to Babe as the Josh Gibson of white baseball; the Crawfords won a string of championships here when Josh played for them in 1932-36; a Pittsburgh fixture, Josh also played in nearby Homestead for the Grays in 1929-31, 1937-40 and 1942-46

ADDRESS: Ammons Recreation Center at 2221 Bedford Ave

Ellis Hotel
DESCRIPTION: A historic site torn down, but in its heyday as Pittsburgh’s Black hotel of the mid 20th century, it was the joint; the Pittsburgh Crawfords Negro League Baseball team had it going on and the great jazz was played at nearby clubs; fortunately, the building has been saved from the wrecking ball

ADDRESS: Centre Ave at Erin

Centre Avenue YMCA
DESCRIPTION: Though not the original building, this famous YMCA has been serving the Hill District since 1922; it serves as a sports center, after-school center, daycare center, family reunification center, food pantry, and medical clinic and emergency shelter center; the benefit it has delivered to the community is incalculable

ADDRESS: 2621 Centre Ave

PHONE: 412-621-1762

Schenly High School

DESCRIPTION: This high school was famous for teaching music to several Pittsburgh’s great jazz musicians for providing their formative musical training, including Earl Hines, Art Blakey and Ray Brown

ADDRESS: North Bellefield at Centre Ave

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