The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Washington DC:
Music to Elite Ears

May 14, 2012

Washington DC’s historic Howard Theater reopened after more than 30 years. Named after Howard University, it was the first music hall built for black people during the days of Jim Crow – older than the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Marvin Gaye and Ella Fitzgerald got their starts there, and all the major black musicians played there. Many black people remember seeing James Brown and B.B. King there in the 1970s.

Ticket prices at the “new” Howard Theater will exclude many people who grew up nearby, once enjoying music at this historic hall.

Tickets for Chuck Berry's upcoming show cost $95. Michael Bolton, $158.

But the reopening was a success for a local developer, a former public relations officer in the Clinton White House and son of a city judge. DC gave him an eight million dollar grant and a four million dollar tax break.