This paper addresses inter-racial sociability and sexuality in New York City before and after the Great Migration of African-Americans from the rural South to northern US cities. Using space and the arrangements of objects in space as my primary evidence, I argue that spatial relations both reflected and created race relations in the urban North and that these practices shifted dramatically over the course of a twenty-year period. While the black proprietors of clubs in Hell’s Kitchen in the 1910s used space to make transgressive interracial sociability possible, by the 1920s, the white-owned clubs of the Harlem Renaissance did the opposite. These clubs used space to re-enforce the increasingly strict vision of white supremacy that emerged in northern cities in the 1920s. This paper traces this shift and points to the importance of the spatial organization of race and race relations even in the “unsegregated” North.
From Sociability to Spectacle: Interracial Sexuality and the Ideological Uses of Space in New York City, 1900-1930.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 6(2), 24-43.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol6/iss2/3