Numbers on Harlem’s Streets

Numbers gambling formed part of the rhythm of Harlem's street life. A map of arrests for playing the numbers in 1925 features almost every corner on Fifth, Lenox, Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Those arrests generally took place in the morning, when players seeking to place bets on their way to work and before before the… Continue reading Numbers on Harlem’s Streets


“Playing the Numbers” Reviewed in the Journal of American History

Marcy Sacks, Associate Professor of History at Albion College, and author of Before Harlem: The Black Experience in New York City Before WW1, reviews Playing the Numbers in the June 2011 issue of the Journal of American History

Harlem’s Beauty Parlors

Beauty parlors were the most prevalent form of black business in Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s.  When George Edmund Haynes, the black sociologist and founder of the Urban League, surveyed the neighborhood's businesses in 1921 he found 103 hairdressers, compared to 63 tailors, pressers and cleaners and 51 barbers.  Simm's Blue Book, a directory… Continue reading Harlem’s Beauty Parlors

Shane White talking about Harlem

Shane White was interviewed by Margaret Throsby on ABC Classic FM here in Sydney this morning, talking about the history of New York City, Harlem and the numbers.  The interview is available as a podcast on the Classic FM site. Shane was also interviewed by Alan Saunders on the By Design show on ABC Radio… Continue reading Shane White talking about Harlem

Harlem’s Soapbox Speakers

Soapbox or street corner speakers were a feature of everyday life in Harlem from World War One to the 1960s.  Each year, the appearance of speakers was heralded as a sign of spring, and they were particularly prevalent through the summer months, when the heat led residents of Harlem to spend most of their leisure… Continue reading Harlem’s Soapbox Speakers

More on Numbers Gambling

With the publication of our book Playing the Numbers drawing near, I've added some more pages explaining the game: how the number was generated how players chose a number to bet on, how the policing of numbers worked who operated the game, the bankers and kings and queens. I've also added a new resource, selections… Continue reading More on Numbers Gambling

Arrests for Numbers Gambling

The map of Numbers arrests is currently one of the Featured Maps on the Digital Harlem site; simply click on the image in the right hand column of the site to see the map. The pop-up box that opens contains an abbreviated version of the information contained in this post. In the 1920s, Numbers gambling… Continue reading Arrests for Numbers Gambling