The Bar at the Center of Atlanta’s Deadly 1906 Race Riot


In 1906, Charles “Charley” Mosley was the only African American licensed to run a bar in Atlanta, Georgia. It was called the Vendome Lounge, and by all accounts he ran a superior establishment, catering chiefly to an upwardly mobile clientele. Mosley, described as a man of “considerable intelligence” by one contemporary, had an evident knack for marketing: he arranged to have live baseball scores transmitted to the bar to keep his customers up to date (and drinking). And he advertised that his was the only bar where local black people could try the famed “Champagne cocktail,” then popular in the better New York bars.

The Vendome Lounge sat at the corner of Auburn and Piedmont avenues. But in 1906, it also occupied a metaphorical corner, at least in the eyes of white Atlantans…

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