The month of February was a dangerous one for East Jackson in 1939. While belligerents prepared for war across the oceans, a different war took place in East Jackson between Governor Hugh White, the Jackson Chamber of Commerce, and the bootleggers that seemed to withstand raid after raid. Padlocks, axes, court orders, soldiers, shootings, fires.... nothing seemed to shut them down for good.
The following events took place in February:
February 5, 1939: Clubs raided, Soldier ambushed and shot in hand.
February 6, 1939: Guardsmen raid clubs again, destroy $30,000 ($500,000) in booze & equipement
February 8, 1939: Gold Coast operator J.H. Steed arrested in Jackson for having a concealed pistol and $7,000 cash ($117,000).
Note: The current value of the dollar amounts cited in each story are posted next to that figure in parenthesis. Apologies are made for the quality of the microfilm. Most of it is readable or can be read if one plays with the zoom function on a computer (much harder on a smartphone). However, some of it is still just plain unreadable. A synopsis and quotes from each story are posted below, then images of the news story, then another batch of recaps and quotes, then images of the story, and so on.
However, February would get hotter- literally. 50 guardsmen raided East Jackson clubs again but seized only a small amount of liquor as Gold Coasties wised up to the fact that Governor White meant business. The Jackson Daily News reported Guardsmen were "subjected to ridicule and taunts by bystanders during raids. The guardsmen interpreted the finding of several blackjacks as indicative of the mood and tactics of the area." However, Coasties faced a new threat to their livelihoods.
One operator was said to have received cancellation of insurance policies in the Gold Coast area. One operator was said to have received notice of cancellation of the policy on his big, new automobile.
However, an ancestor of Bob Germany, Richie Schwartz, or one of their kind got the bright idea to stop the raids by going to court. The Jackson Daily News reported on February 16, 1939 that Jackson resident Dick Farr (No, I do not know if he is related to David) sued to stop the raids. He owned property in Rankin County and sued to stop Justice Court Judges from issuing search warrants to be used by Guardsman in raiding the Gold Coast.
The court fight was the calm before the storm as the Jackson Daily News reported on February 26, 1939 that two raids and a fire ravaged the Gold Coast. The newspaper reported
Two National Guard raids and fire left the Gold Coast strewn with wreckage early today. The Owl's Nest, notorious night spot where the Guards destroyed some twenty cases of liquor in a raid early Saturday night, burst into flames int he wake of a second raid several hours later. The frame building with hits floor soaked in alcohol, was leveled by the flames within a few minutes after the blaze started. Guardsmen had left the night club prior to the fire....
The Guardsmen wrecked the interior of the club after discovery of hte large cache of liquor, Major Birdsong said. It twas believed that severed wiring or neon tubing may hvae caused a short circuit, leading to the fire....
The Guardsmen on both raids caught the Gold Coast flatfooted. Changing his strategy, Major Birdsong directed the 50 troopers in an initial raid between 7 and 8:30 O'Clock. The Guarsdmen then retired to Jackson where they had supper served to them at a downtown restaurant. The group then went into seclusion until 11 o'clock, when they again descended upon the Gold Coast. Many of the clubs had returned operations between the raids, Major Birdsong said. 18 night spots were visited by the Guardsmen in the two forays....
Earlier Gold Coast posts
Governor: "If they want to get rough, that's all right" after Guardsman shot. (1939)
Gold Coast update: Laurel man shot, club burns, Governor raids again. (1938)
Yankee reporter discovers how dysfunctional Gold Coast is. (1938)
Gold Coast clubs too popular. Big Red burns club. Gov. sends troops again. (1938)
Rankin grand jury moves to shut down the Gold Coast
Rankin Sheriff beaten on Gold Coast
Rankin Constable killed in Gold Coast shootout (1946)
Governor sends troops into Rankin County (1939)