“Save your tears for a rainy day; we’re giving a party where you can play!”
(from a Rent Party ticket of the 1930’s)
Save Saturday, January 31, 2009 for a Harlem Renaissance gala unlike any before. The vibrant and joyous spirit of the Harlem Renaissance Rent Party will be recreated at the Officers Club of the Marine Corps Air Station from 7pm to 11 for 300 lucky guests.
The rent party scene pervaded New York’s Harlem of the 1920’s and 30’s, thriving well into the 40’s. For the price of a ticket, a dime or a dollar, guests “dressed to the nines” gained entry to a night of music, dancing, dinner and happy socializing. Born of house party and juke joint traditions which had traveled north with a million southern migrants, the rent party offered good southern food, an occasional card game, rugs rolled back for dancing and the best of jazz, often live, sometimes filling the air from a big black vinyl record on a hand-cranked player. It also provided a way to pay the rent. You could buy a meal or buy a “shortie” of drink and count on a bouncing good time. At the end of the night, guests strolled home happy and the host could meet the landlord without fear on Monday morning – social and financial needs happily met.
Excited by the Rent Party spirit, the Harlem Renaissance 2009 committee chaired by Ethel Denmark, Marie Lewis and Claudette Humphrey is planning an evening of dining, dancing, an art exhibit, a silent auction, and other exciting attractions. The event is a fundraiser for the Arts Council of Beaufort County. All Tickets are $60 and are available at 379-ARTS.