There was a nightclub on Seymour Street in the 1930s popularly known by those who went there as “Nigger Jean’s”. Ivan Ackery, in his memoirs, Fifty Years on Theatre Row (1980), had this to say about the club and its proprietress:
Jeannie Fuller Flynn was a grand black woman who ran a good club on Seymour Street. Her husband, Don, played the piano at the Commodore, as well as other places around town.
Jeannie’s place was full of well-known people. It was THE place to go and all the well-to-do met there. A lot of them used to get drunk and stay overnight. When you’d go in she’d whisper, “Don’t make too much noise now… I’ve got General So-and-So or Governor So-and-So asleep upstairs.”
Jeannie sang the blues in the club and she used to bring in black entertainers – girls whom she’d find work for in various clubs around town. She eventually gave up her place, ending her career in Vancouver as “Aunt Jemima” at the PNE for many years, and finally as the women’s room attendant at a cabaret. She returned to her home in the States, where she died some years ago, but her memory lives in the minds of those of us who shared the thirties with her. (p.120)
I’ve tracked down the location of the club (and Jean’s home). It looks like it was at 1124 Seymour Street (from 1933-40, in the name of Miss J. Fuller; and from 1941-50 in the name of Don Flynn). It was located south of Helmcken, near the apartment block known today as Brookland Court (what was known in Jean Fuller’s day as Hollywood Apartments).
It isn’t clear when she gave up the club (or, for that matter, when she started it). Today, the location of Jean’s home/club is the northern end of a clearing made for a family playground.
It hasn’t been possible, to date, to find a photo of Jean. If a VAIW reader happens to have an image of her (or knows where one can be located), please comment on this post.