Skip to main content

Burdell Benjamin (B.B.) Beamon photograph collection

 Collection
Identifier: aarl95-012

Scope and Content Note

This photograph collection contains black and white 8" x 10"s and some small size colored photographs of radio personalities, T.V. entertainers, such as Ed Sullivan, and great singers of the 1940s and 1950s, such as Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Nat "King" Cole, and Billy Eckstein. Also included in this photograph collection are singing stars of the 1970s and 1980s. Black and white 8" x 10"s of James Brown. One black and white 4" x 6" and 8" x 10" of B. B. King. One medium size colored photograph of Isaac Hayes. There are also black and white and colored photos of family members, and other memorabilia/ephemera.

Dates

  • 1930-1996

Creator

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on research use of this collection.

Copyright Restrictions

Prior permission from the Research Library must be obtained in writing before any portion of this collection can be published or reproduced.

Historical Sketch

Mr. Benjamin Burdell Beamon was born in Greenville, South Carolina. He attended public school in Greenville. Like any young man, he wanted to further his education so he came to Atlanta, GA with hopes of attending Morehouse College. He left Atlanta and went to Los Angeles, CA with the hopes of escaping the segregation and discrimination of the South. Mr. Beamon returned to Atlanta in the late 1930s and became a waiter. Mr. Beamon became very knowledgeable about the restaurant business while working as a waiter, and was approached by the owners of the Top Hat Club. The owners of the Top Hat Club felt that Beamon could handle setting up parties. The owners rate per party was one hundred dollars. Mr. Beamon recalled on one occasion with the one hundred dollars, he spent fifty dollars for the shake dancer Billy Right and a band, and pocketed the rest of the money for himself.

Mr. Beamon was one of the most prolific promoters of radio and singing personalities during the 1940s through 80s. Mr. Beamon has always been known as a progressive thinker even back in the 1950s during the final days of rigid segregation. He opened his restaurant/hotel, The Magnolia Ballroom, to the Civil Rights Movement. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) by-laws were written at his restaurant and the organization spent the night at the restaurant. During the 1950s, Mr. Beamon opened the Academy of Ballet Arts on West Hunter Street. Instruction included ballet, tap, and interpretive dancing.

Also during the 1950s, Mr. Beamon's civic activities included helping the YMCA of Atlanta by paying camp fees for ten boys to attend boarding camp at Lake Allatoona in North GA. In the 1960s, B.B. Beamon and his partner Herman Nash bought the Savoy Hotel, which was located in the Herndon Building on Auburn Avenue. Beamon opened a 24hr restaurant next to the hotel. During the 1960s, Mr. Beamon decided to curtail his activity in the promoting and entertainment business, and concentrated his efforts on the opening of a very popular restaurant, B.B. Beamon's Cafe on Auburn Avenue.

Extent

0.5 Linear feet

Overview

This photograph collection contains photographs of radio personalities, T.V. entertainers, such as Ed Sullivan, and great singers of the 1940s and 1950s, such as Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughn, Nat "King" Cole, and Billy Eckstein. Also included in this photograph collection are singing stars of the 1970s and 1980s such as James Brown, B.B. King, and Isaac Hayes. There are also photographs of family members and other memorabilia/ephemera.
Title
Inventory of the Benjamin Burdell (B. B.) Photograph Collection aarl95-012 aarl95-012
Author
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
Date
2004 September 15

Repository Details

Part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History Repository

Contact:
101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30303
404-613-4032