The first annual riverrun sponsored summer internship was conducted in 2013. The candidate selected as most qualified was University at Buffalo English PhD candidate Alison Fraser. In addition to her qualifications, she was chosen for her interest and enthusiasm about the Little Harlem Club collection she selected to research and report about.
The Little Harlem Club/Hotel on Michigan Avenue in Buffalo was owned and operated by Ann Montgomery from the 1930s through early 1960s, during which time Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and others performed. While this club coexisted with the Colored Musicians Club and other clubs like it in its time period, Ann Montgomery was the distinguishing factor. Montgomery’s style and business sense and the fact that she was an African-American business woman were the rare combination then that made her and the Little Harlem unique.
Several photos, a broadside and anniversary programs comprise the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s Little Harlem Collection available for digital viewing here. The report researched and presented by 2013 riverrun intern Alison Fraser may be read here.