Victory Grill – Harold McMillan

Victory Grill was established in 1945 by entrepreneur Johnny Holmes as a gathering place for African-American soldiers returning from World War II, hence the name. It became a significant stop on the “Chitlin’ Circuit” for renowned blues musicians such as James Brown, Tina Turner and Billie Holiday.

To share an oral history of the Victory Grill, E4 Creative Mentors Jadzia Padilla, Jennifer Chavez, and Karina Mata interviewed Harold McMillan. McMillan is a local musician and founder/director of Diverse Arts Culture Works. He also runs Kenny Dorham’s Backyard, the outdoor event space immediately adjacent to Victory Grill.


12th and Chicon

To share local historical knowledge of 12th & Chicon, E4 Creative Mentor Jorge Ramirez interviewed Executive Director of Six Square Nerfertitti Jackmon and longtime Austinite Pearl Cox. They talked about the meaning of the 12th & Chicon mural and its history.

Harlem Theater

Opening its doors October of 1935, The Harlem Theater of East Austin was an iconic cultural hub of the black community. The venue hosted local performances such as magic shows and talent shows, for which local black-owned businesses would donate prizes. Ultimately, the theater’s legacy ended in 1973—the same year it was reopened—when it was burned to the ground. While the Harlem Theater had a sad demise, the surviving community will never forget how much this theater impacted them, and created a place so many families called home.

Longtime Austinites, Sam Alexander and Pearl Cox, speak on the importance of the black-owned Harlem Theater to the youth of color in East Austin and the potential future of the Harlem Theater.