Don’s Key Hole 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
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 Key Hole Club on Iowa Street.
Open for dancing nightly, the Key Hole Club floor show presented tap dancers, torch singers, balladeers
and the occasional Western Night.
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 Key Hole Club would go down in history as the first integrated nightclub in the Southwest.