BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There is an effort to revive the Royal Theater in Baltimore.
“How can you pass Black History Month and not recognize the Royal Theatre and realize that it was built by African-Americans,” Royal Theatre Community Heritage Corporation President James Hamlin said.READ MORE: O'Malley & Brown Tied In Democratic Primary For Maryland Attorney General, Poll Shows
The Royal Theatre was an icon in the city, where African-Americans celebrated music.
“James Brown, The Miracles, Louis Armstrong, Patti Labelle, all of those stars played the Royal,” Hamlin said.
The Royal was built in 1922, it stood along Pennsylvania Avenue before being torn down in the 70s.
The Royal Theater Community Heritage Corporation just celebrated the Royal’s 100th anniversary this month.
James Dow used to work there, now he’s a board member of the Royal Theatre 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 is working to rebuild the theater and bring other shops and businesses with it to bring Pennsylvania Avenue back to its former glory.READ MORE: Police Identify 2 Men Killed In Northeast Baltimore Triple Shooting
“I miss that,” Dow said. “Having a place to go on a Friday, you know, midnight show. All those kinds of things that we did.”
The Royal lives on through the Royal Theatre Community Heritage Corporation and The Avenue Bakery.
James Hamlin is the President of the corporation and owns the bakery. The bakery serves as a museum filled with memorabilia from Pennsylvania Avenue’s hay day.
“That’s the reason for The Avenue Bakery,” Hamlin said. “The Avenue Bakery focuses to attract people back to Pennsylvania avenue, prove 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 have to invest whatever we have to make a difference.”MORE NEWS: Maryland Weather: Mostly Sunny & Warm
The Royal Theater Community Heritage Corporation is looking for donations to help rebuild the theater.