Dinah Washington (1924-1963) was a legendary American jazz and blues singer born in Tuscaloosa. With such memorable recordings as “What a Difference a Day Makes” and “Unforgettable,” she earned the title “Queen of the Blues.” She was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On August 29, 2013, Tuscaloosa dedicated the for mer Allen & Jemison Hardware building as the newly renovated Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. Washington spent her early years in Tuscaloosa before her father, frustrated by the ever-increasing violence by the Ku Klux Klan, moved the family to Chicago. In 2008, parts of 30th Avenue were renamed to Dinah Washington Avenue.
The Allen & Jemison building was built in 1878 as a one-story structure and continued to expand until 1911 when the four-story addition was built. After changing hand s a few times, the building was to be demolished in 2008 before the city intervened.