Alfred Finnie staged his first drag ball in 1935 as a place where mostly black and working-class gay men and lesbians could socialize on Chicago’s South Side. In the 1950s, the balls became gala events reported on by the national black press.

Source: The Chicago Defender, Nov. 10, 1951 and Nov. 14, 1953, via Allen Drexel, “Before Paris Burned: Race, Class, and Male Homosexuality on the Chicago South Side, 1935-1960,” in Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories, edited by Brett Beemyn, New York: Routledge (1997): pp. 119-144.

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