Chapter Six: Sales Week
This is the true story of a little piece of American history.
It is the story of a private, but exclusive, members-only club that was inspired by wealthy men and their love of horse racing. It is a true story about a club that is one of the least talked about, yet one of the most prestigious clubs in the world. So prestigious, not just anyone could walk through these gates. It’s a private dwelling that hosts some of the wealthiest people in the country, let alone the entire world.
Last, but not least, it is a true story about a small group of black men and women thriving and surviving in a rich white man’s world. It’s a behind-the- scenes story of the workers who were the heart and soul of establishing the Saratoga Reading Room as one of the most historic and best kept secrets in Saratoga Race Course history.
Let the story continue…
I had to add this little special relationship that I developed with an older gentleman by the name of Mr. John Munroe, who used to stay in one of the rooms upstairs at the Reading Room. He was a really close friend of C.V. Whitney. Mr. Munroe would ask me to drive him to various places. I had a 1986 black Subaru at the time. It was a real sporty car, with a sunroof that I could remove and place in the trunk. I used to open the doors for Mr. Munroe as if it was a limousine and chauffeur him around town in it. Numerous times I would drop him off at the Whitney Mansion on Cady Hill in Saratoga. It was funny to me, using my little Subaru to chauffeur him around. I developed a real nice relationship with Mr. Munroe.
It was so much fun working our summers at the Reading Room. Saratoga was known as “The August Place to Be” and having a summer job at the Reading Room was like icing on top of a great cake. I enjoyed the camaraderie of our staff. I enjoyed the relationships we built with some of the members, and I really loved the money that we made. Most importantly, we enjoyed the tradition of being a predominantly black staff continuing to carry on a tradition that lasted for decades. Things were going so well. I along with my friends envisioned many more summers at the Reading Room We had no clue that the hammer would suddenly drop and shatter that idea. My head is still spinning with how fast it all went down. Dr. Martin Luther King said, ‘change is gonna come” and at the Reading Room, that change would come as a shock to all of us!
Click here for the final installment: Chapter 7: The Beginning of the End
Simply Saratoga Magazine is published by Saratoga Publishing, LLC, who brings you such award-winning niche magazines as Saratoga Bride, Saratoga Family, Welcome Home and the weekly newspaper, Saratoga TODAY!
We love Saratoga Springs! The people, the shops, the history, and of course racing season. Our Mission is to bring you everything Saratoga.
We would love to hear from you.