What an incredible video from Harlem Heritage Tours about Harlem man Wilbur, as he talks on the history of the Harlem Numbers industry or “the Harlem numbers game” in Harlem and it’s history.
Check out the video below:
Francis A. J. Ianni, in his book Black Mafia: Ethnic Succession in Organized Crime writes:
“By 1925 there were thirty black policy banks in Harlem, several of them large enough to collect bets in an area of twenty city blocks and across three or four avenues.”
By 1931, there were several big-time numbers operators, James Warner, Stephanie St. Clair, Casper Holstein, Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson, Wilfred Brunder, Jose Miro, Joseph Ison, Masjoe Ison, and Simeon Francis. The game survived despite periodic police crackdowns.
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