In 1920, immediately after women won the right to vote and Prohibition laws were enacted banning the sale and transportation of alcohol, cities around the world broke free of Victorian morals and the pessimism that accompanied World War 1. The world kicked up its heels and partied with gangsters. The focal point for this unbridled, ruckus craziness was the dozens of illegal Speakeasies where the wealthy, the poor, women, men, black and white rubbed up against each other all with the common desire to break the law and drink booze. Optimism was on a high and the economy blossomed. Jazz was the music of choice and Harlem was the place to be in a cultural and artistic renaissance. Most of these venues were not as glamorous as what is now the 21 Club in New York where, when raided, the liquor shelves would flip upside down and send bottles directly into the sewer. They were mostly small, inconspicuous back rooms where a secret password was needed for entrée.
December 12, 2015