Utopia Club Party

Take a peek into the history of African American social clubs with this 1940s photograph taken by Charles Perkins of Blue Light Studio #2.

Photo courtesy Loretta Scott Galloway, Blue Light Studio, The Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of South Alabama

In 1946, African American social clubs were an important part of entertaining in the post-World War II segregated Mobile area. Members met at clubhouses to socialize over music, food and drinks. The Utopia Club, host to the Colored Carnival Association (CCA) party below, was founded in 1936. The clubhouse for the Comrades Social Club, founded 10 years later, was right next door. Charles Perkins, owner of Blue Light Studio #2 located on Davis Avenue, photographed many of these events and took the photo below. Several of the original members of the CCA, renamed the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMGA) in the 1970s, started out as members of the Utopia Club.

The Utopia Club and the clubhouse for the Comrades Social Club were both built on Mon Louis Island, just south of Mobile.

At the time, African Americans could not use certain beaches. Mon Louis Island became a haven to relax and enjoy the water, and was a popular building site for social clubs.

Davis Avenue in downtown Mobile was also home to many African American clubs, restaurants and businesses. Davis Avenue is a stop on the African American Heritage Trail.

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By the Numbers

The year Blue Light Studio #2 opened on Davis Avenue. It operated there until it was destroyed by fire in 1958.

The number of years Dr. Wilborne Russell was president of the CCA. Later, the organization changed to allow presidents to serve a maximum term of two years.

The year Davis Avenue, a prominent district in Mobile’s African American community, was renamed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

Six years
Members of the Utopia Club were required to host at least one meeting every six years. Members met every month, and meetings were formal.

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