The Asbury Park African-American Music Project (AP-AMP) Inc. celebrates the stories of Springwood Avenue in Asbury Park, New Jersey. 

A volunteer-run, community-driven project, we invite you to share your story and get involved.

Help AP-AMP Preserve the Legendary
in Asbury Park, New Jersey

Help AP-AMP save the Turf Club,
the last remaining structure that housed one of Springwood Avenue’s celebrated music spots,
and create a community venue for music and culture.
The Turf Club, c. 1960s
Photo: Joseph A. Carter Sr. (1917-1980)
© Asbury Park: A West Side Story Collection
The Turf Club, May 2019

Update: September 2020
Huge thank you to this efficient crew for a speedy record-breaking clean out of the legendary Turf Club!
– Asbury Park Environmental and Shade Tree Commission
– Asbury Park Department of Public Works
– Asbury Park Quality of Life Committee
– Springwood Avenue Rising
– and ALL the volunteers!

Update: September 2020
Come help the Asbury Park African-American Music Project clean out the interior of the historic Turf Club on Saturday, September 26 between 9am and 12pm. Please wear long sleeves, pants and a mask. Tools will be provided.

AP-AMP is working to preserve this important part of AP’s history. It’s a community effort and that means you! Thank you in advance for your time, your passion and your dollars – any amount will help!

Interior of the Turf Club, August 2020
Photo by Conni Freestone.

Update: July 2020
AP-AMP is happy to collaborate with Springwood Avenue Rising on a beautiful mural on the Turf Club, painted by Mr. Larry Walker. The artwork, painted on the Springwood Avenue and Atkins Avenue exterior walls, celebrates the music and history of Springwood Avenue.

Photo: Conni Freestone
Mural by Larry Walker
What’s the Turf Club?

The Turf Club originally opened at 1125 Springwood Avenue in 1940 and moved to 1200 Springwood Avenue in 1956, where the building remains today. It represents the last chance to preserve a physical piece of Springwood Avenue’s music history. Icons such as Billie Holiday and Count Basie as well as local talent performed along Springwood Avenue. It was part of the Chitlin’ Circuit and lined with music venues and African American-owned businesses, many cited in the Green Book. Since the late 1950s, music was a mainstay of the Turf Club, offering local (e.g., Al Griffin, Cliff Johnson, and Dee Holland) and nationally-recognized (e.g., Clarence Clemons, who would later join Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) jazz and R&B acts. In 1970, civil unrest and a period of disinvestment devastated Springwood Avenue.

Historic Preservationist Elizabeth Rosin notes that the Turf Club “…provides a unique physical connection to an important cultural context – the social and entertainment heritage of the local African-American community. Its cultural significance is enhanced by the loss of other buildings that shared its connection to the once-thriving African-American west side commercial district of Asbury Park.”

“The Turf Club … now remains the only reminder of the old glory days of the great music that was once very much alive on Springwood Avenue.”
– Cliff Johnson, extraordinary local musician, born in 1925, who shared with AP-AMP that he performed in every venue on Springwood Avenue

NBC New York Live:
“Neighborhood Hot Spot: Asbury Park’s African American Music Project”

Thank you to everyone who joined us on June 21 for the official Launch Party for the Asbury Park African-American Music Project (AP-AMP) Inc.!

Special thanks to the Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery for hosting the event, and to the musicians who donated their time and talents!

And thank you to New Jersey Natural Gas for presenting us with a $5,000 Challenge Grant check!
Please click on “Donate” to help AP-AMP meet the match!

Photo credits for all images below: Conni Freestone

The mission of AP-AMP is to:

  • share the music, cultural heritage and stories of Springwood Avenue through oral histories, research, writing, and programs
  • develop accessible resources that reflect Asbury Park’s African American music heritage for the City of Asbury Park and others to use as a basis for interpretive heritage projects 
  • address a lack of representation in traditional historic resources and give voice to the stories of Asbury Park’s African American community
  • engage all who live in and visit Asbury Park in the active exploration, interpretation, understanding, and preservation of Asbury Park African American cultural heritage

Funding provided in part by:

  • the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of cultural affairs within the Department of State
  • New Jersey Natural Gas
  • Walmart Giving
  • New Jersey Historical Commission’s County History Partnership Program
  • New Jersey Council for the Humanities
  • Anserve Inc.
  • Individual supporters

You can find a few short videos that share some of these stories on YouTube: Asbury Park African American Music Heritage Project 

For more information, please email us: apaamhp@gmail.com

or write to us:
Asbury Park African-American Music Project Inc.
PO Box 485
Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Board of Directors:

Jennifer Souder
Yvonne Clayton
Kathleen Melgar
Melissa Keeling

Advisory Committee:

Charles Trott