At noon on Wednesday, July 15, as part of the History Is Lunch series Scott Barretta will present “Music on the Gold Coast during Prohibition.” The presentation is in conjunction with the opening of the new Mississippi Distilled exhibit at the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Located in Rankin County just across the Pearl River from downtown Jackson, the Gold Coast was infamous for bootlegging from the 1930s through the 1960s.
“The strip of nightclubs along Fannin Road run by and catering to African Americans, who referred to the district as ‘across the river,’ is lesser known,” said Barretta. “That area was particularly active from the late '40s to the mid '50s, when the chitlin’ circuit—the national network of African American clubs—was taking off, and alongside the venues catering to larger acts were dozens of local clubs and bootlegers.”
Eventually much of the nightclub activity in the region moved to Highway 49 north of the city limits, where enforcement of alcohol laws was likewise lax.
A resident of Greenwood, Barretta is a writer and researcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail, the host of Highway 61 on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, and a sociology instructor at the University of Mississippi. He was a recipient of a Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2016.
This program is made possible by the Mississippi Historical Society. Learn more about the group at mississippihistory.org.
The streaming-only program will take place at 12 on Wednesday, July 15. It will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page— https://www.facebook.com/MDAHOfficial —and uploaded afterwards to the MDAH YouTube channel— https://www.youtube.com/MDAHVideo, as well as being available here.