Tuxedo Junction is about the
music, the musicians, and
the times.

Carol P. Ealons is a native of
Birmingham, Alabama, and
the stories of Tuxedo Junction
fascinated her.

Learn about a few of the
performers from Tuxedo
Junction in the early 1900’s.


The name Tuxedo Junction is well known in the city of Birmingham,
Alabama. It was a ballroom on the second floor of the now
Nixon Building in the early 20th century, it is a community in
Birmingham's suburbs of Ensley and it is a melody co-written by
Erskine Hawkins in 1939 that put Birmingham on the map around
around the world.  The songs, the music, the dancers, and the singers are what Tuxedo Junction should be known for.  That is what the book "Tuxedo Junction: Right Back Where I Belong" is about... the music.


Everyone knows of Erskine Hawkins - sort of. He played the trumpet and he co-wrote Tuxedo Junction. But who were Erskine Hawkins and Joe Britton? Where does J. L. Lowe and Calvin Ivory fit into this conglomeration of musicians? They are known as band directors and educators around the state, but they were more than that. They made their names during the Big Band/Swing Era when they had their own orchestras and played with some of the great orchestra leaders of the day like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Cab Calloway; and all of these men and women were taught and nurtured by an humble, but stern, printing instructor at Birmingham's Industrial High School, John T. "Fess" Whatley.  That is what the book "Tuxedo Junction: Right Back Where I Belong" is about... the musicians.


It tells how music took some of those musicians out of the coal mines of Pratt City, the steel mills of Ensley and the wire plants of Fairfield to become some of the greatest entertainers in the world; of the determination of families, a printing instructor's tenacity and the God given talent that propelled those entertainers to heights they only dreamed of. That is why "Just A Little Bit of History" has been included so you will see what is meant. That is what the book"Tuxedo Junction: Right Back Where I Belong" is about... the times.