Before the Civil Rights Act, Herman Roberts’s club defined black nightlife on the south side

As proprietor of Roberts Show Lounge and the 500 Room, Roberts booked the likes of Nat ‘King’ Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Count Basie, and Lionel Hampton—and responded to segregation and its legacy with ingenuity and class.

Source: Before the Civil Rights Act, Herman Roberts’s club defined black nightlife on the south side

Dick Gregory Talks Roberts Show Club

Roberts Show Club

The Roberts Show Club was established in 1954-1961- It was “the biggest negro nightclub in America” Dick Gregory

Photo: Vivian G Harsh Collection



Dick Gregory at Roberts Show Club

Dick Gregory

Photo taken from


Who was Elnorah Huff-Williamson?

Elnorah Huff-Williamson was a Chicago showgirl that performed at Club DeLisa and Roberts Show Club on the Chicago’s South-side in the 1950’s.


Ellnorah Huff-Williamson  (A Chicago Chorine at the Club DeLisa)



Club DeLisa



Club DeLisa

Elnorah was born Elnorah Huff, she was born on August 5, 1932, in Chicago, (U.S. Census Records) to the parents of late Samuel Lewis Huff and Capitala Fanny Huff.  She attended Wells High School on the North side of Chicago, she graduated in 1950.  Upon graduation, Williamson enrolled in the Chicago School of Dental Nursing and worked as a showgirl at Club DeLisa. Elnorah graduated dental hygienist school on April 20, 1952.  (Records in Harsh Collection)

Dental School Commencement



On October 10, 1952, she married Robert L. Williamson; out of this union, two daughters were born. Sharon Capitala Williamson, May 9, 1953 and Cookie (?) Williamson July 20, 1954. (first name of daughter not clear, cookie could be a nickname)

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Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Williamson


DeLisa Chorines


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Roberts Showgirls


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Prominent Artist Found in Lost Historic Collection

Lefty Bates (March 9, 1920 – April 7, 2007)[2] was an American Chicago blues guitarist. He led the Lefty Bates Combo and worked with the El Dorados, the Flamingos, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, Etta James, the Aristo-Kats, the Hi-De-Ho Boys, the Moroccos, and the Impressions.[2] A regular on the Chicago blues scene, his major work was as a session musician on a multitude of recordings made in the 1950s and 1960s.[1]


Autographed to Bobby and Elnorah Williamson, Harsh Collection; Lefty Bates Trio 1952

The Australian Jazz Quartet, also known as the Australian Jazz Quintet, was a jazz group active in the 1950s, best known for collaborations with Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan and Carmen McRae.

Active years 1954-1958
 Autographed Photo n.d. Harsh Collection

Brook Benton, born Benjamin Franklin Peay, (September 19, 1931 – April 9, 1988) was an American singer and songwriter who was popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s.


Autographed, Harsh Collection

Fats Domino

American singer and pianist Fats Domino was a rhythm-and-blues star who became one of the first rock-and-roll stars and who helped define the New Orleans sound.
Fats Domino was born February 26, 1928, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He began performing in clubs in his teens and in 1949 was discovered by Dave Bartholomew, who became Domino’s exclusive arranger. His first recording, “The Fat Man” (1949), was one of a series of rhythm-and-blues hits that sold 500,000 to 1,000,000 copies. Fats Domino was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

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