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Running the Numbers – Race, Police, and the History of Urban Gambling - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Running the Numbers: Race, Police, and the History of Urban Gambling

Matthew Vaz


This book explores conflict over everyday gambling in urban America from the 1950s through the 1980s. The popular illegal games "numbers" and "policy" thrived in African American communities in New York, Chicago and other cities for much of the twentieth century, providing an important source of both leisure and employment. Black political and civic leaders resisted police corruption and mafia incursions as they attempted to preserve these games as autonomous black economic institutions. As a series of gambling related cases led the Supreme Court to curtail police practices, and as urban refor ... More

Keywords: gambling, numbers game, lotteries, urban politics, police corruption, Fourth Amendment, New York, Harlem, Chicago, Southside

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780226690445
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226690582.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Matthew Vaz, author
City College of the City University of New York