Special to South Florida Times
FORT LAUDERDALE — In a celebration of the Fort Lauderdale Centennial and its own 10th anniversary, the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is planning to recreate Northwest Fifth Avenue during the mid to late 1940s in its museum gallery.
The Library is asking for pictures and other mementos, including souvenirs and signs that could help with the project. Photos and and other paper items will be scanned into digital media and returned to the owners. A staff member will go to the homes of those with a portable scanner who cannot take their materials in.
The Northwest Fifth Avenue corridor during the late 1940s was recognized as the center of commerce and entertainment for the black community. People of all socio-economic backgrounds worked and thrived together. The avenue offered a range of services, including a laundromat, barbershop, grocery store, theater, nightclub and church.
The Library, located at 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, said the scanned images will be used to create the look of the street in a museum quality exhibit somewhat resembling a stage set with individual building facades and interactive displays. Listening to oral histories of the elders of the black community will be offered.
The Library said its staff will work with artists, technicians and designers from schools and businesses to create the tribute to the glory days of the avenue.
They are particularly interested in photos and other items related to the Black and Tan Café, Royal Palm Grocery, City Sundry Store, Avant’s Barber Shop, the Shoe Repair Shop, the Franklin M. Department Store, Club Windsor, Crystal Palace, Lewis Hotel, the Church of God, and Ernest Upholstering, and also of other places of interest in the area of Northwest Fifth Avenue.
Items could be copies of the Colored Bulletin, Florida Spur, concert programs and movie posters, a ticket to the film The Fuller Brush Man, covers of albums by singers such as Rosetta Tharpe from the late 1940s.
The tribute to the avenue will be on exhibit during Fort Lauderdale’s centennial celebration in 2011 and the start of the Library’s 10th anniversary year, 2012.
For more information, call Essie DeNoms, assistant director of the AARLCC, at 954-625-2807. The library’s Web site is www.broward.org/library.
Photo courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society. BACK IN TIME: This historic photo shows Moore’s Variety Shop. It is part of the Gene Hyde Collection and was provided courtesy of The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society.