Sex Workers, Psychics, and Numbers Runners: Black Women in New York City's Underground Economy

Sex Workers, Psychics, and Numbers Runners: Black Women in New York City's Underground Economy

by LaShawn Harris
Sex Workers, Psychics, and Numbers Runners: Black Women in New York City's Underground Economy

Sex Workers, Psychics, and Numbers Runners: Black Women in New York City's Underground Economy

by LaShawn Harris

Hardcover

$110.00 
  • SHIP THIS ITEM
    Temporarily Out of Stock Online
  • PICK UP IN STORE
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


Overview

During the early twentieth century, a diverse group of African American women carved out unique niches for themselves within New York City's expansive informal economy. LaShawn Harris illuminates the labor patterns and economic activity of three perennials within this kaleidoscope of underground industry: sex work, numbers running for gambling enterprises, and the supernatural consulting business. Mining police and prison records, newspaper accounts, and period literature, Harris teases out answers to essential questions about these women and their working lives. She also offers a surprising revelation, arguing that the burgeoning underground economy served as a catalyst in working-class black women ™s creation of the employment opportunities, occupational identities, and survival strategies that provided them with financial stability and a sense of labor autonomy and mobility. At the same time, urban black women, all striving for economic and social prospects and pleasures, experienced the conspicuous and hidden dangers associated with newfound labor opportunities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780252040207
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 06/15/2016
Series: New Black Studies Series
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

LaShawn Harris is an assistant professor of history at Michigan State University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 Black Women, Urban Labor, and New York's Informal Economy 23

2 Madame Queen of Policy: Stephanie St. Clair, Harlem's Numbers Racket, and Community Advocacy 54

3 Black Women Supernatural Consultants, Numbers Gambling, and Public Outcries against Supernaturalism 94

4 "I Have My Own Room on 139th Street": Black Women and the Urban Sex Economy 123

3 '"Decent and God-Fearing Men and Women' Are Restricted to These Districts": Community Activism against Urban Vice and Informal Labor 167

Conclusion 201

Notes 209

Index 245

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews