top of page

Tennessee Black History (William Sousa "Soo" Bridgeforth Jr.)

William Sousa "Soo" Bridgeforth Jr. was the last surviving owner of a Negro Leagues Baseball team, and owner of the legendary New Era Club in Nashville.

William Sousa "Soo" Bridgeforth and his parents' farm to purchase a pool hall in downtown Nashville. He went on to open two more pool halls before opening the New Era Club in downtown Nashville in 1939.

In the 1940s, Bridgeforth raised enough money to purchase the Baltimore Elite Giants, a Negro league baseball team. As time went on, he would also own for some time the Negro league teams the Nashville Stars and the Birmingham Black Barons.

Many entertainers hit the stage @ The Era.

Etta James released her #1 Hit at The Era nightclub.

Even though many of James’ hits from this period feature lush orchestral arrangements, when it came to live performances she still got down in the trenches with gut-bucket blues or intense rockin’ soul music.

When Argo made the decision to record a live album, they let her choose the location. They needed a venue where James felt comfortable and one where the audience response would match the passion of her music. She chose Nashville and the New Era Club.

Thank you Deshan Jones for digging up this Nashville Black History Fact!

97 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page