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13 December 2008

Alfred Finnie (? – 1943) hustler, ball organizer.

There had been interracial drag balls in Chicago since the late nineteenth century.

In 1935, following the raid on the double wedding at the Cabin Inn, Alfred Finnie organized a small extra ball on the South Side at 25¢ to get in, mainly attended by blacks.

Each year it grew, and by the 1950s Finnie’s Balls attracted thousands both gay and straight, black and white, and was featured in Jet and Ebony magazines.

Apart from the balls, Alfred worked as a club doorman and street hustler. He was killed in a gambling brawl in 1943, but the balls continued in his name.
  • “Gays and Lesbians”. Encyclopedia of Chicago.
  • Baim, Tracy. Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community. Chicago: Surrey Books, 2008: 29. 
  • St. Sukie De la Croix. Chicago Whispers A History of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewall. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012: 146, 152-3.

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