The Golden Leaf Club celebrates 101 years with new legendary mural

FLINT, Michigan — The historical members-only club celebrated its 101st year as a local gem by having a new mural added to the business. The mural was revealed during the Free City Mural Festival that took place from June 25 through July 2 and featured 17 artists who added artwork across Genesee County.

The festival was made possible by funding from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, C.S Mott Foundation, Genesee Fine Arts Council, Kobra Paint, Genesee County Share Arts Grant, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Overlooking its veranda at Golden Leaf, the mural was brought to life by Florida native and visual artist, Zulu who painted the legendary Aretha Franklin mid-melody. Commissioned by the Flint Public Art Project, Zulu doted on the uplifting energy and hospitality of Flint residents during his visit and pays reverence to the importance of the Golden Leaf Club and the community that has kept the business alive.

“I had an incredible time painting at the Golden Leaf,” said Zulu. “It’s a huge honor to be able to leave a mark on a place that is so historic and monumentous to the entire nation. To know that the club has survived prohibition and gave Black people a place to gather when there were no other places to give us that kind of freedom at the time is truly amazing.”

The Golden Leaf has provided a stage for a legion of local and national acts and prominent figures such as Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Malcolm X, and many more. Formerly named the Maple Leaf, the exclusive club was created with culture at its core.

Magnus Clark, the Golden Leafs’ original founder, is said to have opened the club specifically for Black people during a time when they were sanctioned to “after-hours” had they desired the time and space to enjoy music and entertainment. Despite its relationship with political and racial adversity, the Golden Leaf Club still stands tall and can be found at 1522 Harrison St. in Flint.

For more information, including business hours, find and follow The Golden Leaf Club on Facebook.

Read more articles by Jarielle Tasha Nettles.