Harsens Island Revenge
Detroit’s lower east side was a breeding ground for poverty, crime, and violence during the early part of the twentieth century. It was in the chaotic streets of this ethnic melting pot that the Purple Gang was born in the years just preceding World War I.
Like-minded groups of protestant Christians, though small in number, were loudly in favor of passing the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the sale of alcohol across the United States. Their expectations were that the country would willingly give up its thirst for “spirits.” Instead, the amendment created a burgeoning underground alcohol market.
This is one of the great ironies of the twentieth century. Prohibition was expected to bring about a perfect society. Instead, it fostered one of the most lawless and violent periods in American history.
This is the story of Detroit’s Purple Gang and their clandestine designs on Harsens Island.