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Uptown Community Celebration Honors Black Entrepreneurship



The ‘Back in the Day Block Party Par-Tay” celebrated the history of the Uptown Community in Chestertown on Saturday.

The celebration took place on the corner of College and Calvert Streets, the location of Charlie Grave’s Uptown Club which hosted some of the biggest names in music during the 1950s and 60s, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Sam Cooke, and many others traveling the “Chitlin’ Circuit” during the pre-Civil Rights era.

The gala, sponsored by the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice and Washington College, hosted tables for local organizations and businesses—all to the beat of “Soulified Village” and other musical entertainment.

Chesapeake Heartland, an African American humanities project in partnership with local community organizations, showcased photographs of the Uptown Club, Charlie Graves, and other black entrepreneurs of the era.

Other organizations attending the event were RIM Recovery, Kent Cultural Alliance, Kent County Health Dept., and Rising Sons Mentoring Program.

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