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Slim Jenkins Club (aka Slim Jenkins Corner aka Slim Jenkins Cafe) was the premier nightclub in Oakland, the heart of the Harlem of the West from 1933 to 1962.

The club was at 1748 - 7th Street in West Oakland. Slim Jenkins opened a liquor store on December 5, 1933, the day Prohibition was repealed with the passage of the 21st Amendment, and a cafe was soon added.

Black musical icons such as Nat King Cole, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, the Ink Spots, Earl Hines, Louis Jordan, and Dinah Washington performed for the racially mixed middle class audience. President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Slims, and William Knowland, publisher of the Oakland Tribune, was a frequent customer at the supper club.

It was in the same building as Jenkins' supermarket and coffee shop, which opened in 1938.

The club was razed in 1962 to make way for a gas station. 3 Jenkins tried to get a cabaret license for 975 West Grand Ave., 4 but that was blocked by a nearby church group. 5 Jenkins then opened a new club at 310 Broadway. 6 Jenkins operated it until his death in 1967.

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Among the people who performed at Slim's was Lil Greenwood. She moved from Alabama to the Bay Area in 1948 or 1949, and began singing at Slim's. She was later recruited by Duke Ellington, and traveled extensively with his group from 1956 to 1962. 7,8

sign for Lil Greenwood, vocalist2002 compilation album

Links and References

  1. E.F. Joseph Photograph Collection at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland
  2. Harold Jenkins Photograph Collection at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland
  3. Rites Set for Slim Jenkins Oakland Tribune May 24, 1967
  4. notice Oakland Tribune July 11, 1961
  5. Church Group Blocks Move of Night Club Oakland Tribune July 14, 1961
  6. Oakland Man Plans Cabaret Oakland Tribune April 23, 1962
  7. Lil Greenwood on Wikipedia
  8. Two Ellingtonians in 'Homecoming' Oakland Tribune June 12, 1960