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2001 15th St NW

Club Madre, owned by the flamboyant entrepreneur Odessa Madre, was an important venue for the area's LGBTQ community in the 1940s. After graduating from Washington’s elite Dunbar Senior High School with honors in 1925, Madre began her long entrepreneurial career, interrupted by stints in prison. Sensationalized as the Lady Al Capone in her day, Madre was operating not only in a male-dominated landscape but in an era in which Black entrepreneurship was often criminalized. For example, the forerunner of the DC Lottery was the then-illegal numbers game invented in U Street. For all her notoriety, Madre is nonetheless remembered by the community for the safety her establishments provided the LGBTQ community.

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