Boardwalk Empire Fancast: Gina Torres as Madame (“Queenie”) St. Clair 

Madam St. Clair was born of mixed French and African descent on Martinique. She immigrated to America via Marseilles in 1912 and ten years later took $10,000 of her own money and set up a numbers bank in Harlem. She became known throughout Manhattan as Queenie, but Harlem residents respectfully referred to her as Madame St. Clair. She became affiliated with the 40 Thieves gang, but it was not long before she branched off on her own and ran one of the leading numbers games in the city. 

After the end of Prohibition, Jewish and Italian-American crime families saw a decrease in profits and decided to move in on the Harlem gambling scene. Bronx-based mob boss Dutch Schultz was the first to move in, beating and killing numbers operators who would not pay him his “cut.” Queenie and her chief enforcer  Ellsworth “Bumpy” Johnson refused to pay protection to Schultz, but the wave of violence and intimidation began wearing them down. Eventually, however, Bumpy Johnson approached Lucky Luciano. He negotiated himself into the position of enforcing the will of the Five Families by supervising and shaking down Harlem’s black lotteries and bookmakers. He also approached Madam St. Clair and tried to persuade her to come with him. She at first refused, but Bumpy continued doing his best to protect his former boss. However, both eventually realized that the struggle was hurting business, and collaborated to arrange a truce with Schultz. Queenie was allowed to operate so long as she continued paying the Family Tax to the Italians. In 1935, Schultz was assassinated on the orders of The Commission. St. Clair had nothing to do with his murder, but sent a telegram to his hospital bed. It read, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”

02.16.2013 / 97 notes
  1. firebendingonthedancefloor reblogged this from infinity-stonez
  2. infinity-stonez reblogged this from apolloniacorleone
  3. pashchan reblogged this from newperspective-xo
  4. littlelansky reblogged this from deanobanion
  5. alittlenonsensenow reblogged this from deanobanion
  6. roundtableguest reblogged this from harrowtwins and added:
    Ellsworth (Bumpy) Johnson is buried in the cemetery I volunteer at (Woodlawn in the Bronx)
  7. averygroovymutation reblogged this from goatsandgangsters
  8. 08just-an-echo80 reblogged this from oldwickedsongs
  9. ladyofthehouseofletters reblogged this from harrowtwins
  10. harrowtwins reblogged this from carolynhidthecake
  11. pkgm reblogged this from ttfkagb and added:
    Gina. Torres! LOVE!
  12. note-a-bear reblogged this from ttfkagb
  13. alliefbaby reblogged this from deanobanion
  14. carolynhidthecake reblogged this from newperspective-xo
  15. newperspective-xo reblogged this from oldwickedsongs
  16. thelefthandedwife reblogged this from ttfkagb
  17. ttfkagb reblogged this from curiousmeans
  18. holycorruption reblogged this from oldwickedsongs
  19. renfields reblogged this from oldwickedsongs
  20. oldwickedsongs reblogged this from deanobanion
  21. notgrungybitchin reblogged this from goatsandgangsters
  22. curiousmeans reblogged this from deanobanion
  23. goatsandgangsters reblogged this from deanobanion
  24. deanobanion reblogged this from apolloniacorleone
  25. bourbonandbiscuits reblogged this from ozamataz-buckshank
  26. michaelpit reblogged this from holly-gofightly
  27. persnikitty5 reblogged this from bourbonandbiscuits
  28. wendyduchamp reblogged this from bourbonandbiscuits
  29. holly-gofightly reblogged this from bourbonandbiscuits