We are Monroe and Betty Sago, husband and wife, life-long citizens of Natchez, MS. We  obtained  the property in 1983, and opened an auto detail center known as Quality Car Care Center.  Later, several elderly gentlemen came along and enlightened us about the site and the history it held.  They encouraged us to do something to preserve the history of the tragic Rhythm Night Club Fire of April 23, 1940.  For a number of years their plea fell on death ears.  About 10 years ago, many survivors of the fire started to visit the site and share articles and photos with us, we began to listen to their stories and knew that we must help them tell their stories.  We started commemorating the event on April 2008 with several survivors and the community present.  The commemorations continued thereafter each April.. On April 26, 2010 we decided to open a mini-museum with a few articles.  We soon discovered that we had to expand . We immediately began the expansion.  The Museum was completed and opened August 16, 2010 for tours. The Grand Opening was held November 6, 2010.

About Us

Rhythm Night Club April 23, 1940

 NATCHEZ — The Natchez Business and Civic League honored several community members Friday night for their achievements in keeping black history alive, overcoming adversity and excellence in education.

Betty Washington Sago received the title of Woman of the Year, and her husband, Monroe Sago was named Man of the Year at the league’s annual awards banquet at the Natchez Convention Center.

The Sagos operate the Rhythm Night Club Memorial Museum that commemorates the 209 people who died in a fire at the dancehall on April 23, 1940.

Unsung Hero

Monroe and Betty Sago couldn’t bear to see an important part of Natchez’s history to be forgotten and their work in 2010 helped ensure the story of a generation would be told for years to come.

For years, the couple has owned the property where the Rhythm Night Club once sat. When Mrs. Sago began connecting with survivor of the tragic 1940 fire, which killed 209 people, she felt a pull to tell their story.

The couple began work constructing the museum to commemorate the fire’s victims, their families and the community that was so affected by the tragedy.

“We had the property,” Mrs. Sago said. “Our decision was, if we don’t do anything about it, no one else will.”

The Sagos began collecting newspaper clippings, photos and memorabilia from the time.

After a dedication and grand opening in 2010 the museum was officially open for tours.

The couple staffs the museum themselves from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

They collect donations at the door that will help cover operating costs and will fund scholarships to area students who write an essay on the fire.

Because the fire left many Natchez children without parents, Mrs. Sago hopes to raise enough money from tours to make regular donations to the Natchez Children’s home.

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