Our article “This Harlem Life: Black Families and Everyday Life in the 1920s and 1930s” has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Social History. (It appeared in the Fall 2010 issue).
The article uses the Probation Department files to reconstruct the lives of five men “to highlight what the black metropolis offered those outside the elite, to show how ordinary blacks negotiated the challenges, and drew on institutions and organizations, to establish and sustain new lives. We offer the kind of individualized perspective on everyday life that other scholars have provided for high culture, but which does not exist for Harlem, even in early twentieth century sociological studies of black life.” Relationships with spouses, children, siblings and cousins sustained individuals faced with the social reality of living in overcrowded, deteriorating, disease infested housing, subject to the racism of white police, politicians and employers; so too did friendships made in nightclubs, speakeasies, dances and movie theatres, and membership of churches, fraternal organizations, social clubs, and sports clubs and teams.
*These names are pseudonyms, as required by Municipal Archives