Between Reconstruction and Prohibition, Beale Street in Memphis thrived as a cauldron of sex and song, greed and race hatred—a street that inspired folk legends and reshaped American politics. Preston Lauterbach tells this story through the life of the South's first black millionaire, an ex-slave named Robert Church. With a compromised fortune gleaned from brothels and gambling houses, Church and his son bankrolled militant civil rights activism, furnished the venues where W.C. Handy invented the blues and built a powerful black political machine. Fighting to redeem themselves and their city, these vice kings clashed with the forces of Jim Crow to create a hotbed of black culture. Brilliantly researched, Beale Street Dynasty evokes a lost world of swaggering musicians, glamorous madams and ruthless politicians.