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Hotel Metropolitan Hosts First Purple Room Performance in 50 Years


In the era of segregation, Paducah's Hotel Metropolitan was considered one of the finest African American hotels in the region. Many prominent guests have spent the night: Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Harlem Globetrotters, Satchel Paige, Thurgood Marshall, Thomas Dorsey, Ray Charles, Ike and Tina, and Cab Calloway. Now, the building functions as a museum, for its famous guests and 20th century African American history. Betty Dobson joins Kate Lochte on Sounds Good to talk about the hotel's first Purple Room performance in fifty years, tomorrow night, featuring harmonica bluesman "Rip Lee" Pryor.

Founded by Maggie Steed in 1909, Hotel Metropolitan ran until 1996 (Steed died in 1924). Now it serves as a reminder of segregation in America, but also of the famous nightlife of the jazz and big band era. The Purple Room was a local hotspot for everything from concerts to homecoming dances to garden club gatherings. Today, the Purple Room needs updated wiring and new windows, but it's a work making progress thanks to the effort of The Upper Town Heritage Foundation, grant funding and community support.

Saturday, November 15, the Purple Room hosts its first concert in 50 years, featuring bluesman Rip Lee Pryor and local gospel singer Katrina Lee, from 6 to 10 p.m. $5 donation and light refreshments.

The Hotel Metropolitan is located at 724 Oscar Cross Drive in Paducah.

More on Hotel Metropolitan's website

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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