Welcome to the Mitchell Young Anderson Museum
Tues - Thurs 10-4:30
Fri 10-8, Sat 11-8,
From Being Property to Owning Property
This virtual museum event, From Being Property To Owning Property, was presented Thursday October 29, 2020. It was designed to provide a history of the historic Stevens Street District, an intact, African American neighborhood created after the Civil War and the Mitchell Young Anderson Museum's boarding house established in 1887.
THE MITCHELL YOUNG ANDERSON
Jule Anderson, the daughter of Virginia and Essic Anderson was born in Thomasville. After graduating High School, she attended Fisk University earning a degree in Education. It was at Fisk she fell in love with and married a fellow student, the soon to be Dr. Wesley Johnson. The couple moved to San Francisco California where Jule became a successful educator and together with her husband they raised three children. While living in California, Jule went back to college and earned a master’s degree in sociology. Following a divorce, Jule returned to Thomasville, Georgia in the early 1990s to the family home to live with her mother and transform the house into a Bed & Breakfast. Toward the end of her life, Jule Anderson requested in her Will that the house be turned into a museum. The house sits within a historic African American neighborhood as a cultural corner stone reflecting the aspirations of that first generation of newly freed black people.
A HISTORIC LOOK AT THE VIBRANT
AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY
IN THOMASVILLE GEORGIA
The above photograph is of the Douglass High School HomeComing Parade. It was October 15, 1962. The shot is a view of the West end of Jackson Street, a portion of the African American shopping strip. During this period of segregation, towns like Thomasville had vibrant African American communities. There were African American doctors, dentists, ministers, teachers, and African Americans owned their own shops. People either built or bought their own homes. There were night clubs, a theatre, a hotel. boarding houses, churches, a high school; there was great expectations during the early to mid-20th century. The image is courtesy of The Thomas County Historical Society.
Billy Holiday and Wesley Johnson
THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE
AFRICAN AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS
DURING THE 1940S - 1960S
Jule Anderson's father-in-law, Wesley Johnson, Sr.was a Texas native who moved to California as a young man. He was an entreprenour and became one of several African Americans who opened night clubs between the 1940s through the 1960s in San Francisco. Johnson's first nightclub was called The Subway and stood in North Beach. In 1942, he bought a two-story building on Fillmore Street, remodled it, and opened the Hotel Texas upstairs and his first Fillmore nightclub, the Texas Playhouse/Club Flamingo, in the storefront. He later started the Havana Club, another nightclub in the Fillmore which enabled him to save enough money to put his son, Wesley Jr., through school. Clubs such as Jackson's Nook, the Plantation Club, Wally's Souville, and Jimbo's Bop City played host to stars such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Count Basie, and Lenny Bruce. There were guests such as Joe Louis, Marilyn Monroe, and Sammy Davis, Jr. African Americans would say that they were going "clubing" and referred to themselves as "members" or "club members." People dressed up; women wore their elegant dresses and furs and men wore suits and hats.