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Forbidden. Banned. Barred. Outlawed. Restricted. Illegal.

On January 16, 1919 the 18th Amendment was ratified, which made “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.”

Prohibition began one year and one day after the amendment was ratified, and lasted until 1933 with the passing of the 21st Amendment.

While on the surface Prohibition seemed to be just about controlling the consumption of alcohol, this amendment, like most other things, was truly about so much more.  Xenophobia, immigration, religious intolerance, racism, women’s rights, the census, gerrymandering, populism, morality, organized crime, and government control of personal behavior all influenced or came out of the 18th  Amendment.  And over 100 years later, these subjects are still discussion and debate points in our democracy.

Join us 2021-2022 as we look to the roaring 1920s to put the extra-ordinary 2020s into context.



Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent
The War on Alcohol by Lisa McGirr
Anything Goes by Lucy Moore
Flapper by Joshua Zeitz
New World Coming by Nathan Miller

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
By Starlight by Dorothy Garlock
Live by Night by Dennis Lehane
The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant
One Summer by Bill Bryson


Ken Burn’s Prohibition
Berkeley Library’s 1920s Documentaries List


American Library Association’s Banned and Challenged Books
Delaware Public Archives
“Prohibition began 100 years ago, and its legacy remains” by David Crary
The Mob Museum’s Prohibition: An Interactive History