People march and protest for many reasons. In the 60’s men and women marched for civil rights and racial equality. Hippies took up the anti-war protest picket sign and have yet to give up the cause. Today misguided youth take time off from their molly fueled raves and video games to march against a financial system they don’t understand or actually care about. On this date on 1932 the men of New York City marched for another worthy cause, Beer.
In the midst of the nations worst depression, crippling unemployment and record crime rates, men living in 1932 had to also deal with the ridiculous prohibition of alcohol. So after a long day of trying to find work along with a quarter of the men in the country and trying not to get killed by mobsters who where profiting from bootlegging, men couldn’t go to the local pub and enjoy a pint of suds to take the edge off and help them forget about the world of shit they currently lived in. It wasn’t just the regular Joe feeling the pinch. As the income from taxes on alcohol products dried up New York City Mayor Jimmy Walker was forced to drastically cut his budget and shrink both police and fire departments. This meant that on the streets of NYC the mob ruled while the local government and regular thirsty schmucks where forced to play ball.
Tired of not being able to fight the mob and probably also tired of tasting paint thinner in his gin and tonics, Mayor Walker rounded up a posse of like minded drunks and took to the streets. What started as a group of protester eventually turned into a mass of 100,000 dry voices all under the banner of “WE WANT BEER”. After hearing of the march, the people of Chicago who lived in similar circumstances took up the call of their brethren and marched under the slogan “Beer for Prosperity”.
Prohibition came to an end the very next year and, while not all the credit can be given to the brave men and women who marched on this day in 1932, their jonesing was clearly heard throughout the country. Next time you crack open your favorite ice cold brew or pour some spirits over some ice remember the men that came before you. Remember that at one time instead of going to the corner store these men had to buy sketchy liquor behind a mechanic shop from a man that may or may not be connected to several illegal booze selling murders. Remember the alcohol deprived brave souls that risked their lives and only asked for a buzz in return. Truly, they were the greatest generation.