Six Questions About "White Women in Negro Society"

I came across this Jet magazine cover from June 1952 on Tumblr and my comment when I first saw it was "interesting juxtaposition of the print on the cover. “Most Beautiful Negro Girls” vs “White Women in Negro Society”.

But the more I look at it, the more I wonder just exactly what was this White Women in Negro Society story about? Yeah, the more I think about it, the more questions I have.

For example, was this story about...

1) White women dating/marrying black men? Taboo, taboo, taboo.

2) White women and black women being friends? I don't feel like that happens all that frequently in modern times. It should, but it doesn't. And I'm not talking acquaintances or work buddies. I'm talking BFF's. So...I'm not all that confident that this is what this is about.

3) White women advocating for civil rights? Could be, could be. But then wouldn't they title it, "White Women and the Civil Rights Movement?"

4) White women shopping in black-owned businesses?
Doubting this one.

5) White women hanging out with rich "society" black folks or artists? Rolling with the Nicholas Brothers or Lena Horne? Hanging out with folks from that Our Kind of People book?

6) White women bossing around their black maids? Is this what inspired that book The Help?

And whatever happened to Vera Francis?

Yeah, I'm just all kinds of confused over this cover. I can't figure out what that story is about!

As for Harlem versus Hollywood, what do you say?


Nichelle said…
Hi Liz,

The answer is #1. And #5!

The article is about White women with Negro husbands being accepted into "Negro society." It talks about how it is "nothing new" for white women to attend "exclusive affairs with Negro husbands or escorts." The article also mentions "certain doors that have not been opened to white wives." "Certain doors" as in "purely Negro social clubs" like the Links, the Girlfriends, Jack and Jill and the Gay Northeasterners "who turned down the German-born wife of famed baby specialist Dr. Thomas Patrick." The Girlfriends turned her down too...

Pretty hilarious reading - check it out for yourself:

Jet also did a story about Negro women with White husbands a few months earlier in February 1952. The focus in this article is on women in entertainment with the exceptions of Drs. Leonard and Marguerite Cartwright. He was a chemist and she was a former Cotton Club dancer (with Lena Horne!) who went on to earn a Ph.D in education.

No mention of "Negro society" though...
Floridagirl said…
Thank you Losangelista for this
blog and thanks to Nichelle for the link ... I love the archives... interesting indeed...
Liz Dwyer said…
You are a GENIUS!

I find stuff like this TOTALLY intriguing!
Daniel said…
What I wonder about the 1952 issue would be:
Are all the hottie chicks those “lite-skinnt, good-hair, got that honey in ya” type?

As far as Harlem vs Hollywood:
I already told you, I don’t go north of the 10! So Hollywood is Out. Them people scare the heebee-geebee’s out of me.

Now … Harlem. In 1952 the whole thing, but nowadays the Gentrification has set in so hard on the south end (closest to Central Park) I gotta go up past about 135th to be out of place enough to start feeling comfortable again.
NYC is about to be Female trouble for me anyways, ‘cause there are so many beautiful varieties of “blackness” all compacted into such a (relatively) small space. And I gotta go back there in a few weeks. Hope I can control myself, being away from the kid’s like that and all.

(And I’ll tell if they are more beautiful above 135th Street. But, I already know they are, lol!)
Anonymous said…
This article about black women being the uliest race left me speechless.
Liz Dwyer said…
hahaha! Yeah, I wondered if their standard of beauty is all color based in 1952. I wouldn't be surprised.

You don't go north of the 10. I don't go west of Fairfax if I can help it. I work in Hollywood so I have no choice, but I'll take actresses like Nia Long over some Hollywood hipster wannabes any day!

I agree with you TOTALLY about Harlem. Things done CHANGED.

Yeah, that was on my mind all week and I finally got around to writing about it last night. Such a shame that such racist trash gets published as solid research.

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