|HISTORY OF THE ARCH SOCIAL CLUB
Contributed by Donna Tyler Hollie
Baltimore, Maryland in 1912 was a racially segregated city with little personal interaction between the races. As a result, African Americans had their own churches, fraternal groups and schools, patronized Black businesses and used the services of Black physicians and lawyers. Legally mandated racial segregation resulted in a Black community united without regard to class distinctions. With a spirit of community service in mind, Raymond Coates, Jeremiah S. Hill and Samuel L. Barney founded a club called The Cosmopolitans. The name was later changed to The Arch Social Club and was incorporated March 15, 1912.
The members originally gathered at Stokes’ Restaurant on the corner of Arch and Josephine Streets. Later, they established a clubhouse in a building at 655 Josephine Street which rented for $1.50 weekly. The club moved to its present location, 2426 Pennsylvania Avenue in 1972.
Charity, friendship and brotherly love were cornerstones of the club. Members were eligible for sick benefits and families received financial compensation when a member died. The men of the club were required to “sit with” sick members, attend funerals, visit houses of mourning and offer moral and emotional support to widows and orphans.
Many members owned their own businesses and were members of the professional class. The membership also included waiters, chauffeurs, porters, clerks and laborers. In the spirit of brotherhood, those who had education and skills shared their knowledge with those who did not. While most members lived in Baltimore City and County, there were also members from Virginia, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Jamaica and Puerto Rico.
The Arch Social Club celebrated its 85th anniversary in March 1997.
ARCH SOCIAL CLUB MEMBERSHIP 1920-1921