Race Mixing, Investigation, and the Enforcement of Jim Crow

in New York Undercover

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226266091
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226266114 | DOI:
Race Mixing, Investigation, and the Enforcement of Jim Crow

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Marshall's Hotel was a famous gathering place for members of New York's black cultural elite such as W. E. B. DuBois. Yet the Committee of Fourteen kept Marshall's Hotel under surveillance because it suspected the establishment of permitting race mixing, which it considered as an indicator of disorderliness. The Committee used the vagaries of excise and disorderly house laws to conduct surveillance and regulate saloons and cabarets, especially those owned and frequented by the city's African Americans. The debate surrounding Marshall's Hotel and how its proprietor was viewed by the Committee of Fourteen reflects the way the Committee perceived and used race as a marker of morality, and shows how a private organization imposed segregation in a state known for its strong anti-discrimination laws. The Committee wanted to create separate black and white drinking establishments and to solve the city's “Negro problem.” By working together (and around New York State's civil rights laws), both black and white Progressives and their undercover investigators helped to usher in Jim Crow.

Keywords: Marshall's Hotel; undercover investigators; race mixing; Jim Crow; New York; W. E. B. DuBois; Committee of Fourteen; African Americans; segregation; Negro problem

Chapter.  12417 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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