Roaring 20s Research Article from History Firsthand

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Charlie Berns

Before Prohibition went into effect, bars and saloons were often regulated by city and state ordinances. When alcohol was outlawed in 1920, illegal saloons, called speakeasies, sprang up on nearly every corner. In some areas, entire city blocks were populated with nothing but speakeasies. In New York City, for example, there were about sixteen thousand legal bars prior to Prohibition. After 1920, an estimated one hundred thousand illegal speakeasies opened their doors during the next ten years. Many of these establishments were magnets for prostitution, gambling, and other illegal activities.

In the following excerpt, speakeasy proprietor Charlie Berns explains to freelance author John Kobler how he managed to survive in the rough-and-tumble world of gangsters, corrupt police, and illegal booze.

In 1919, when I was eighteen, I went to the New York University School of Commerce to study accounting. Jack Kriendler...

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This section contains 2,716 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Roaring 20s Encyclopedia Article
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Roaring 20s from Greenhaven. ©2001-2006 by Greenhaven Press, Inc., an imprint of The Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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