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The Frogs Club, 1913
On this date in 1908, The Frogs Club was organized in New York. The Frogs was a group of Black theatrical professionals.
It was founded by Bert Williams, George Walker, and Sam Corker. The group was named after the characters in Aristophane's play and Aesop's fable. The founders meant the organization's name to symbolize their feelings of dignity and responsibility. The Frogs were held in great respect by the Harlem community and held benefits in various cities on the East Coast. Other members were Bob Cole, Lester A. Walton, James Reese Europe, Alex Rogers, Tom Brown, J. Rosamond Johnson, Jesse Shipp, and R.C. McPherson (Cecil Mack).
They first met at the home of George Walker at 52 West 133rd Street in Harlem. They continued for years as a leading professional club, admitting lawyers and doctors as well as theatrical people. Besides raising money for charities, the Frogs were best known for a popular annual dance and vaudeville review, "The Frolic of the Frogs," which took place every August at the Manhattan Casino. Admission was 50 cents. The party started around 10:30 p.m. and continued into the night. Favors were given to the ladies, and door prizes went to the three people wearing the most unique costumes symbolic of the Frogs.
The crowds were huge and this happening was one of the biggest yearly social events in Harlem. In 1913, the Frogs organization staged a variety show for their Frolic. The show was so successful it toured to four large cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond.