World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Stephanie St. Clair

Article Id: WHEBN0005053587
Reproduction Date:

Title: Stephanie St. Clair  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Numbers game, Dutch Schultz, History of the National Crime Syndicate, 1929 in organized crime, Murder, Inc.
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Stephanie St. Clair

Stephanie St. Clair

Stephanie St. Clair (1886–1969) was a gang leader who ran numerous criminal enterprises in Harlem, New York in the early part of the 20th century. St. Clair resisted the interests of the Mafia for several years after Prohibition ended; she continued to be an independent operator and never came under Mafia control.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Police corruption 2
  • Mafia involvement 3
  • Cinematic and Theatrical Portrayals 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

Many scholars believe St. Clair was born of mixed French and African descent on Martinique but another theory states that she was from Guadalupe Island, a small island off the coast of Mexico. She immigrated to the United States via Marseille in 1912 and ten years later took $10,000 of her own money and set up a numbers bank in Harlem. She became known throughout Manhattan as Queenie, but Harlem residents referred to her as Madame St. Clair. She became affiliated with the 40 Thieves gang but eventually branched off on her own and ran one of the leading numbers games in the city.

Police corruption

She complained to local authorities about harassment by the NYPD, and when they paid no heed she ran advertisements in Harlem newspapers, accusing senior police officers of corruption. The police responded by arresting her on a trumped-up charge, and in response she testified to the Seabury Commission about the kickbacks she had paid them. The Commission subsequently fired more than a dozen police officers.

Mafia involvement

After the end of crime families saw a decrease in profits and decided to move in on the Harlem gambling scene. Bronx-based mob boss Dutch Schultz was the first to move in, beating and killing numbers operators who would not pay him protection.

St. Clair and her chief enforcer Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson refused to pay protection to Schultz despite the amount of violence and intimidation by police they faced. Eventually Bumpy Johnson, her former enforcer, negotiated with Lucky Luciano and Lucky took over Schultz' spots with a percentage going to Bumpy. The Italians then had to go to Bumpy first if they had any problems in Harlem. That's when the legend of Bumpy Johnson began. The book Harlem Godfather: The Rap on my Husband, Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson by Bumpy's wife, Mayme Johnson and Karen E. Quinones Miller provides a factual account of this.

Luciano realized that the struggle with the Five Families was hurting their business so Schultz was assassinated in 1935 on the orders of The Commission, St. Clair sent a telegram to his hospital bed as the gangster lay dying. It read, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap." The incident made headlines across the nation.

By the 1940s, "Bumpy" Johnson had become the reigning king in Harlem while St. Clair became less and less involved in the numbers game. She died quietly and still rich in Harlem in 1969.

Cinematic and Theatrical Portrayals

References

  1. ^ A story from the street where she lived - The Boston Globe
  2. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4043372/

External links

  • CourtTV's CrimeLibrary - Harlem Gangs from the 1920s and 1930s
  • Harlem Godfather - The Rap on my Husband, Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson
  • Hoodlum (1997) at the Internet Movie Database
Preceded by
Peter H. Matthews
Policy racket in New York City
circa 1923–1932
Succeeded by
Dutch Schultz
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.