Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Harlem Rent Parties]
Saturday night became the gala night in Harlem. Some partied even ran well into Sunday morning, calling a halt only after seven or eight o'clock. Parties were eventually held on other nights also. Thursday particularly became a favorite in view of the fact that “sleep in” domestic workers had a day off and were free to kick up their heels without restraint. Not that any other week-day offered Saturday any serious competition. It always retained its popularity because of its all round convenience as a party day. To begin with, the majority of working class Negroes, maids, porters, elevator operators and the like, were paid on Saturday and, more important than that, were not required to report to work on Sunday. Saturday, therefore, became the logical night to “pitch” and “carry on”, which these pleasure-hungry children did with abandon.
The Saturday night party, like any other universally popular diversion, soon fell into the hands of the racketeers. Many small-time pimps and madames who, up to that time, had operated under-cover buffet flats, came out into the open and staged nightly so-called Rent Parties. This, of course, was merely a “blind” for