A circuit of nightclubs and theaters that feature African-American performers and cater especially to African-American audiences.
When Jim Crow and segregation were even more prominent in the United States, the Negro race, freed through emancipation, did not have equal access to public “White Only” places. The Chitlin’ Circuit - a connected string of music venues, diners, juke joints, and theaters throughout the eastern and southern United States that catered primarily to African American audiences was created.
The Chitlin’ Circit was the only option for touring Black entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Etta James, Billie Holiday, Ike and Tina Turner, B. B. King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, T.D. Bell and the Blues Specialists, Roosevelt "Gray Ghost" Williams, Eubie Blake, Robert Shaw, Big Joe Williams and many others begin touring in an effort to “eek” out a living when Jim Crow and segregation was even more prominent in the United States.
Historically, Baltimore was the first city on the Chitlin' Circuit. The Chitlin’ Circuit stretched through the South, bending Westward throughout Texas, extending Eastward on through Chicago, offering continuous opportunities for black entertainers.
Many clubs were opened specifically for the Chitlin' Circuit, such as the Historic Victory Grill in Austin, Texas. Opened in 1945, The Victory Grill’s history is an integral component to the prospering of the legendary “Chitlin' Circuit”. A juke joint offering food, beer, jazz and rhythm and blues music and dancing, the club soon became a hot spot for locals to listen to touring Black entertainers. The Historic Victory Grill is alive and well presenting blues and jazz entertainment.
"I was traveling the chitlin' circuit when I met Johnny Holmes, the owner of the Victory Grill down in Austin Texas, who became my first road manager." B. B. King