By LaShawn Harris
On December 9, 1930, Harlem numbers banker Madame Stephanie St. Clair was released from the workhouse on New York City’s Welfare Island after serving a little over eight months for possession of numbers slips. According to the New York Amsterdam News (NYAN), the forty-something year-old St. Clair emerged from prison and “threw a bombshell in the investigation of the policy racket, police, and Magistrates’ Court when she declared she paid $6,000 to a lieutenant and plainclothes officers.” Commonly known throughout Harlem as the “Numbers Queen,” St. Clair’s release from jail signaled her desire to resume her position as one of Harlem’s preeminent numbers bankers and to contest white gangsters’ attempts at muscling into Harlem’s numbers game. Moreover, St. Clair was hell-bent on exposing law enforcers’ participation in New York City’s illegal multi-million dollar gambling racket.
By Stephen Brier
The issue of who should control NYC’s public schools, like the poor, apparently will always be with us. These days, or at least since Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral reign, that control centers on how many years the city’s mayor will be allowed to play K-12 education’s top dog: one year or more? The answer to that question currently resides exclusively in the partisan clutches of Republicans who control the New York State Senate. They don’t like to miss an opportunity to stick it to the current occupant of Gracie Mansion, grudgingly doling out one year of mayoral control at a time to Bill de Blasio.
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