Don Albert and His Keyhole Club

Don’s Keyhole Club would go down in history as the first integrated nightclub in the Southwest.

 All photos used by permission of Don Albert's son Kenneth Dominique

Don Albert broadcasting over KONO radio in San Antonio.

  After a decade touring the country with his Swing Dance Orchestra and almost making it into the big time, trumpeter Don Albert returned to San Antonio. In 1940 Albert announced the opening of his own nightclub, Don's Keyhole Club on Iowa Street.  

Don Albert and His Swing Orchestra on the bandstand.

Ad for Shadowland night club in San Antonio. Entertainment featured "Don Albert and His Ten Pals Playing the Dance Tunes."

The Kelly Field Morale Band broadcasting on KONO, San Antonio, 1943. Seated L to R: Cora Wood, vocalist; Robert Fields, guitar. In back: Don Albert, trumpet; Thomas Bailey, drums; Herb Hall, alto saxophone, Unknown, piano.

Floor show at the Keyhole Club in San Antonio.

Open for dancing nightly, the Key Hole Club floor show presented tap dancers, torch singers, balladeers and the occasional Western Night.

Western Night at the Keyhole Club.

Don Albert and club patrons at the Keyhole bar.

Mobile promotion for Louis Jordan concert and the Keyhole Club. Kenneth Dominique is seated in the car.

  City politics under segregation put Don’s policy of catering to integrated audiences to a severe test. A legal battle ensued which Don Albert fought and won. It marked one of the first grassroots victories in the infancy of the Civil Rights movement. Don’s Keyhole Club would go down in history as the first integrated nightclub in the Southwest.

Keyhole Club exterior at night.

 

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