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Pink Morton

Monroe Bowers Morton was known as “Pink” for his light skin (he was the son of a former slave mother and white father). He built the Morton Theater in 1910. Morton served as a postmaster, published two newspapers, and owned 30 buildings. The center of his empire was the Morton Building, which became the center of African-American business and entertainment in Athens at the turn of the century. The building is located at Washington and Hull (the "Hot Corner"). Jazz, vaudeville, and burlesque filled the theatre. Celebrities who performed there included Cab Callaway, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Ma Rainey. The building went into decline in the 1950’s, but local artists recently spurred a renovation effort. Robert Herman, Executive Director of the Morton Theatre, comments.