The Hi-Hat Club, which was built at this site in the 1950s, was once an important stop on the “chitlin circuit” for African American blues and soul performers. B. B. King, James Brown, Otis Redding, Ike & Tina Turner, and many others played to packed houses here. Owner Milton Barnes (1915-2005), one of Mississippi’s most successful African American entrepreneurs, also owned Barnes Cleaners, the Hattiesburg Black Sox baseball team, and several other night spots in addition to his own contracting business.
The Hi-Hat Club flourished during the heyday of the “chitlin circuit,” when most of the touring venues for the nation’s top blues, R & B, and soul performers were large African American nightclubs and dance halls. The Hi-Hat, one of the largest clubs in Mississippi, often drew crowds of eight to nine hundred, sometimes in excess of a thousand. As economics and audiences changed, the role of clubs like the Hi-Hat declined as the bigger shows gravitated to auditoriums and arenas, and by 1994 the Hi-Hat had closed its doors.
Owner Milton Barnes started Barnes Cleaners
Other performers at the Embassy or Hi-Hat included James Brown, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Al Green, Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Albert King, Ray Charles, Rufus Thomas, Little Milton, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Guitar Slim, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters,
Erected by Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 102.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail series list.
Location. 31° 16.645′ N, 89° 16.301′ W. Marker is in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in Forrest County. Marker is at the intersection of Old Airport Road and North Hattiesburg Avenue, on the left when traveling east on Old Airport Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hattiesburg MS 39401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. William Carey College (approx. 2.6 miles away); "The Civil Rights Church" (approx. 2.8 miles away); William Harris Hardy (approx. 3˝ miles away); Hattiesburg (approx. 3˝ miles away); Old Federal Building (approx. 3˝ miles away); a different marker also named William Harris Hardy (approx. 3.6 miles away); Forrest County Confederate Monument (approx. 3.6 miles away); Pittman Park (approx. 3.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hattiesburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 8, 2018. It was originally submitted on June 8, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 120 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on June 8, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. 2, 3. submitted on June 8, 2018.