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A Look At Montreal’s’ Finest In Black History: Rufus Rockhead

February 23, 2017 DMS Blog, The 514 Scene
A Look At Montreal’s’ Finest In Black History: Rufus Rockhead

A Look At Montreal’s’ Finest In Black History: Rufus Rockhead

Did you know Montreal was coined “Harlem North” in its “Sin-City” days?

The man behind this was Rufus Rockhead making his clubs the only places to be at in Montreal.

As the first black nightclub owner, he was a true businessman determined not to be held back by discrimination or the events of World War I.
He first earned his stripes by setting up his own successful shoe-shinning and hat-cleaning parlor in Verdun, which essentially set him up to receiving his “tavern license” in 1928. This was considered a huge milestone for this young black entrepreneur as it was in the same period
where blacks were deterred from getting liquor licenses.

Rockhead opened up his first bar on the corner of St. Antoine and Mountain Street.


His savvy business skills lead him to opening the renowned Paradise Café making it Montreal’s predominant “Hot Spot” welcoming tourists and big name celebrities of the time.


In 1952, Rockhead’s liquor license was revoked when refusing to pay off the Duplessi’s regime, and getting treated like a second-class citizen.

Later in 1961 the clubs doors finally re opened and this club was now the jumping hot spot more than any other hot spot in the city.

Source:
The Suburban 2017