Smitty's Bar

Sewickley Black History Tour

Smitty's Bar

Sewickley, Pennsylvania 15143, United States

Created By: Sweetwater Center for the Arts


Smitty's Bar
428 Walnut Street

Smitty’s Bar was one of the two beer gardens located on Walnut Street. Beer Gardens like Smitty’s during the 1960s and 70s provided an adult social atmosphere for local folks from Sewickley and their distant neighbors from Pittsburgh. Smitty’s was a happening spot and always jumping! There was loud music and plenty of people talking and laughing. An exciting and fun hangout in the heart of Sewickley that produced great times for its patrons, it was a place to relax and enjoy friends. Clarence E. Smith Jr, also known as Smitty, was the owner of both beer gardens and the only Black tavern owner in Sewickley. He was the brother of Larry Smith of Larry’s Auto Repair Shop on Ohio River Boulevard, and the oldest of 9 siblings. All were raised in Sewickley by Pauline and Clarence Smith Sr. The Smith family lived on Frederick Street and since Larry was a mechanic, there were always lush cars and motorcycles parked around the house.

Black History of the Time (1960s-1980s)
A century after the Emancipation Proclamation Black Americans were still subject to discrimination in many facets of their lives. By the 1960s the Civil Rights movement was at its peak, with the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and the passage of the Civil Rights and the Voting Rights Acts. These turbulent times saw violence, protests, assassinations, and young men being drafted into war. The great accomplishments and new laws of the Civil Rights movement did not end racism and many problems facing African Americans did not improve. There was a turn in ideology toward a broad embrace of Black culture and identity. The Black Power movement fought with a focus on Black Americans creating their own economic, social and political powers. The Black is Beautiful movement inspired pride and honor in one’s Blackness and an embrace of Black culture and identity. The Black Aesthetic movement encouraged Black artists to centralize Black life and culture into their work, influencing visual art, poetry, literature, music and theater of the time.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Sewickley Black History Tour


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