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St. Clair, Stephanie  

Donny Levit

Harlem “policy queen” and advocate for immigrant and African American rights, was born in Martinique. She immigrated to New York via Marseilles, France. After settling in Harlem in 1913, she served as an advocate for renter's rights and fought to require police to have search warrants to enter a resident's home. She also became a passionate advocate for French-speaking immigrants in need of education and job opportunities. In 1922 St. Clair opened a successful “numbers” bank in Harlem.

According to the Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, the “numbers game” was a “pervasive form of gambling in African-American urban communities from around the turn of the century until the late 1970s” (Palmer, 2032 The numbers game also referred to as policy eventually folded in the 1970s with the advent of state lotteries and legal gambling Playing the numbers initially involved placing a bet on the last three ...