WELLSWORTH  126TH STREET AND 7TH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1950s (126TH STREET AND 7TH AVENUE , PICTURED) “Given this complex set of attitudes, heterosexual Harlem was sometimes willing to share nightclub and bar space with gays and lesbians. That includes, in the 1920s, such well-known hangouts as Lulu Belle’s, Connie’s Inn, and the Clam House (which featured the 250-pound, tuxedo-clad singer Gladys Bentley belting out her raucous double-entendre lyrics), as well as the drag balls that attracted thousands to the huge arenas, like Rockland Palace, in which they were staged. Subsequently, Harlem clubs like Snooky’s, the Purple Manor, and the Dug-out continued to mix straight and gay, thereby providing homosexuals with a proportionately greater number of gathering spots than were available in the more uptight downtown white world. When Yvonne arrived on the scene in the early fifties, these traditions, though diluted, were still intact. One of her favorite Harlem hangouts, the Wellsworth, on 126th Street and Seventh Avenue (just behind the Apollo Theater), was in fact two bars: a straight bar in front, and then behind it, with a separate side entrance, a black lesbian bar. Harlem became a retreat from the endemic racism of the Village scene. Going into one of the few lesbian bars in the Village - the Seven Steps, Bagatelle, Swing Rendezvous, Pony Stable, Page Three, Laurel’s (famed for its free Chinese food on Sunday afternoons) - meant essentially going into a white women’s bar and finding herself ignored or treated like an oddity.” (Martin Duberman, Stonewall, 1993) 

WELLSWORTH  126TH STREET AND 7TH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY OPEN 1950s (126TH STREET AND 7TH AVENUE , PICTURED) “Given this complex set of attitudes, heterosexual Harlem was sometimes willing to share nightclub and bar space with gays and lesbians. That includes, in the 1920s, such well-known hangouts as Lulu Belle’s, Connie’s Inn, and the Clam House (which featured the 250-pound, tuxedo-clad singer Gladys Bentley belting out her raucous double-entendre lyrics), as well as the drag balls that attracted thousands to the huge arenas, like Rockland Palace, in which they were staged. Subsequently, Harlem clubs like Snooky’s, the Purple Manor, and the Dug-out continued to mix straight and gay, thereby providing homosexuals with a proportionately greater number of gathering spots than were available in the more uptight downtown white world. When Yvonne arrived on the scene in the early fifties, these traditions, though diluted, were still intact. One of her favorite Harlem hangouts, the Wellsworth, on 126th Street and Seventh Avenue (just behind the Apollo Theater), was in fact two bars: a straight bar in front, and then behind it, with a separate side entrance, a black lesbian bar. Harlem became a retreat from the endemic racism of the Village scene. Going into one of the few lesbian bars in the Village - the Seven Steps, Bagatelle, Swing Rendezvous, Pony Stable, Page Three, Laurel’s (famed for its free Chinese food on Sunday afternoons) - meant essentially going into a white women’s bar and finding herself ignored or treated like an oddity.” (Martin Duberman, Stonewall, 1993)