Jackson in Hinds County, Mississippi — The American South (East South Central)
The Alamo Theatre
Talent shows have long served as an entry to the world of professional entertainment, and in Jackson many aspiring artists began their careers in contests at the Alamo Theatre. One was Dorothy Moore, who was offered a recording contract after consistently winning the Wednesday night talent contests here while in junior high. In 1966 she recorded an album as the lead singer of the vocal group the Poppies. Moore later sang background vocals for Malaco Records in Jackson and was soon recording there as a featured artist. In 1976 her record “Misty Blue” was a huge hit and established Malaco as a major player in the soul and blues field. Her other hits included “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “I Believe You,” and “With Pen In Hand.” She later formed her own label, Farish Street Records,
For many decades the Alamo served as a major African American entertainment venue under the management of Arthur Lehmann. The theatre opened at 134 North Farish Street in 1915 and moved to123 West Amite Street, just off Farish, in the 1920s. In 1948 Lehmann constructed a new building at this location to house the Alamo. Lehmann sold the property in 1957. The Alamo served mostly as a movie theatre, initially showing piano-accompanied silent movies and, after 1932, “soundies.” The theatre also booked vaudeville, jazz, blues, and gospel performers, including Elmore James, Tiny Bradshaw, Nat King Cole, and the Rays of Rhythm from Mississippi’s Piney Woods School. Al Benson, who later became Chicago’s top radio personality, promoted shows here in the 1930s and sang with the Leaners Band, which featured George Leaner on piano. Lillian McMurry of Trumpet Records, whose offices were located on the same block, attended gospel shows here to discover talent. Blues pianist Otis Spann recalled winning an Alamo talent contest as a child, and other local artists who competed included Sam Baker, Jr., Mel Brown, Sam Myers, Cadillac George Harris, Little Jeno Tucker, Tommy Tate, Amanda Humphrey (Bradley), Roosevelt Robinson, the vocal group the Quails (Dequincy Johnson, George Jackson, and Sam Jones),
The Alamo closed in the 1980s and, following extensive renovation, reopened under non-profit ownership in 1997. The theatre began to celebrate Farish Street’s musical legacy again with occasional music programs, and in 2000 Jackson bluesman Eddie Cotton, Jr., recorded his CD Live at the Alamo Theatre here.
Erected 2008 by the Mississippi Blues Commission. (Marker Number 42.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mississippi Blues Trail marker series.
Location. 32° 18.251′ N, 90° 11.315′ W. Marker is in Jackson, Mississippi, in Hinds County. Marker is at the intersection of Farish Street and East Hamilton Street, on the left when traveling north on Farish Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jackson MS 39202, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Trumpet Records (within shouting distance of this marker); Smith Robertson School (approx. 0.2 miles away); Greyhound Bus Station (approx. ¼ mile away); Mt. Helm Baptist Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Ace Records (approx. ¼ mile away); Woolworth's Sit-in (approx. ¼ mile away); 217 W. Capitol (approx. ¼ mile away); Edwards Hotel (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jackson.
Also see . . .
1. Farish Street Records of Mississippi. (Submitted on October 13, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
2. Mississippi Blues Trail: Dorothy Moore / Alamo Theatre. (Submitted on October 13, 2013, by Cleo Robertson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.)
Categories. • African Americans • Arts, Letters, Music • Entertainment •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 30, 2017. This page originally submitted on January 1, 2012, by Jeff Lovorn of Florence, Mississippi. This page has been viewed 596 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on January 1, 2012, by Jeff Lovorn of Florence, Mississippi. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.