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I've Got to Make My Livin'Black Women's Sex Work in Turn-of-the-Century Chicago$
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Cynthia M. Blair

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226055985

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226056005.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 July 2021

“The Sources of Courtesanship”: African American Women's Wage Work, the Informal Economy, and the Search for Independence

“The Sources of Courtesanship”: African American Women's Wage Work, the Informal Economy, and the Search for Independence

Chapter:
(p.18) One “The Sources of Courtesanship”: African American Women's Wage Work, the Informal Economy, and the Search for Independence
Source:
I've Got to Make My Livin'
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226056005.003.0002

This chapter examines the paths of African American women to the sex industry in Chicago. It explains that these women were restricted to low-paying domestic employment and they frequently looked for work to make ends meet and for independence. The sex economy was one of the largest sectors of the illicit urban informal economy and it provided them with much needed income. This chapter shows that the sex economy occupied a place along a continuum of informal pursuits to which African American men and women turned to in the late-nineteenth-century city.

Keywords:   African American women, sex industry, domestic employment, urban informal economy, sex economy, independence

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