What Perspectives Did African American Advocates Bring to the Birth Control Movement and How Did Those Perspectives Shape the History of the Harlem Branch Birth Control Clinic?

Endnotes

Introduction

1. Margaret Sanger to W. E. B. Du Bois, 2 December 1930, Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The clinic opened with a white staff of doctors and nurses borrowed from the downtown clinic; some of the staff split their time between the two locations. In addition to the African American community leaders, white members of the Advisory Council included Sanger, Hannah Stone, the medical director of the clinic, and Carrie Fuld, the primary private funder of the clinic. As was her usual practice, Sanger formed the council after the clinic opened. This was the case with the advisory councils associated with the downtown location; see Esther Katz, Cathy Moran Hajo, and Peter Engelman, eds. The Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, vol. 1 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003), p. 348.

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2. Langston Hughes, The Big Sea (New York: Knopf, 1940) as quoted in Gilbert Osofsky, Harlem: The Making of a Ghetto (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), p. 240; Adam Clayton Powell Sr., senior pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, which ministered to the largest congregation in Harlem, as quoted in Cheryl Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?": Black Harlem in the Great Depression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 16.

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3. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 15 and 31.

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4. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" This figure represents two-thirds of all African Americans living in New York City. Greenberg identifies Harlem's geographical boundaries as the area between Park and Amsterdam Avenues north of Central Park and south of 155th Street. In 1925, Greenberg notes, the "average density of white neighborhoods" in New York was "223 people per acre. The comparable black density was 336 per acre." In 1930, a New York Housing Authority survey found the population density had grown to more than 600 persons per acre in some blocks.

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5. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 181-86. See also Osofsky, Harlem, pp. 135-38.

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6. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 185-86. See also Osofsky, Harlem, pp. 141-44, 150-51, and 179-87.

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7. Claudia Marie Calhoun, "Tuberculosis, Race, and the Delivery of Health Care in Harlem, 1922-1939," Radical History Review 80 (Spring 2001): 101-19. Calhoun notes the double edge of this victory; after securing the positions at Harlem Hospital, city officials often used the fact of those staff positions to deny African Americans positions in other area municipal hospitals.

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8. In "Or Does It Explode?": Black Harlem in the Great Depression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), Cheryl Greenberg notes that the Urban League began to voice concerns about rising unemployment in 1927 and worked with the NAACP to pressure employers to end race-based hiring practices (26-27, 39, 101, and 114-120).

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9. In the Depression-era economy, racially exclusive hiring increased and affected all occupations. African American professionals, who had started to make some inroads against whites-only hiring practices in the late 1920s, were often the first to be laid off. In addition, as white men became increasingly desperate for work, they began to take the service jobs they had previously disdained as being beneath their social status, so even the jobs traditionally reserved for blacks became harder to get. The Urban League estimated in 1935 that as a result of race-based hiring, 60 percent of Harlem household heads were unemployed. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 43-45, 74-77, 114-24, and 145. She also notes that while whites were willing to cross the traditional color line and take jobs formerly reserved for African Americans, men were much less likely to cross traditional gender lines and take jobs formerly reserved for women.

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10. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" p. 33. Greenberg notes that The Colored Orphan Asylum did not have a single African American member until 1937 and that the Children's Aid Society was completely white throughout the Depression. Where agencies did employ African Americans, they often restricted them to serving African American clients (166-67).

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11. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" p. 57; and Calhoun, "Tuberculosis, Race," pp. 109-11.

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12. Du Bois did not disagree with Washington's goals for economic uplift, self-help, and self-determination. However, in the face of rising racial violence in the South, Du Bois came to believe that these goals could not be achieved without political rights. See Lee D. Baker, From Savage to Negro: Anthropology and the Construction of Race, 1896-1954 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 116-18.

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13. Hine investigates actions of both the National Medical Association and the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, two parallel organizations that began to agitate for integration of military medical corps during World War II, in Darlene Clark Hine, "Black Professionals and Race Consciousness: Origins of the Civil Rights Movement, 1980-1950," Journal of American History 89 (March 2003): 1279-94. Available online at http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/jah/89.4/hine.html.

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14. On suspicions among African Americans that a white-run contraceptive clinic might promote racial extinction and use its clients as guinea pigs, see Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (New York: Pantheon, 1997), p. 87; and Carole McCann, Birth Control Politics in the United States, 1916-1945 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1994), pp. 148-49. Calhoun notes that African American physicians shared these concerns; Calhoun, "Tuberculosis, Race," pp. 103, 108. On race suicide, see note 35 below and the introduction to Document 13.

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15. McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 150. The recommendation to hire African Americans came at a time when community leaders were increasingly focused on the impact of whites-only hiring practices on the African American middle class in Harlem. During the Depression, Black professionals were especially hard hit by unemployment. The campaign to open up jobs included efforts to convince Harlem businesses in particular to hire more Black staff. For the Don't Buy Where You Can't Work campaign, see Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 42-45 and 114-39.

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16. This law, Section 211 of the Federal Criminal Code, was generally called the Comstock Act after its author Anthony Comstock, a prominent activist of the social purity campaign that emerged after the Civil War. Proponents of the social purity movement, most of whom shared orthodox religious beliefs, supported laws to regulate recreational activities involving sex, alcohol, gambling, and dancing to protect America's youth from the temptations of sin and vice. Through Comstock's efforts, twenty-four states and the federal government outlawed the distribution of printed materials, devices, drugs, and medicines "for preventing conception or producing abortion or for any indecent or immoral use." Fourteen states prohibited speech about contraception, even in non-commercial settings. Only the state of Connecticut prohibited the use of contraceptives, a prohibition that became the basis of the 1965 Supreme Court decision Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the court held that the practice of contraception was a matter of privacy. After enactment of the laws he championed, Anthony Comstock secured an appointment as a special agent of the U.S. Post Office, where he spent thirty years trying to expunge "obscene" materials and their purveyors. See Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992), p. 68. On Comstock and his activities, see also Tone, Devices and Desires, Chapters 1 and 2; and Nicola Beisel, Imperiled Innocents: Anthony Comstock and Family Reproduction in Victorian America (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997).

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17. McCann, Birth Control Politics, Chapter 2. On Sanger's life at this time, see Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 56-104. The Woman Rebel achieved a subscription base of about 2,000 in the six months it was published. Sanger also used this network to distribute Family Limitation, a pamphlet of practical contraceptive information; see Katz, et al., Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, vol. 1, pp. 69-71. Family Limitation was sold widely and reprinted regularly until 1928. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 35-36 and 128-29; and Joan Jensen, "The Evolution of Margaret Sanger's 'Family Limitation' Pamphlet, 1914-1921," Signs 6 (Spring 1981): 548-55.

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18. For efforts to repeal the Comstock Act, see Why Did Congressional Lobbying Efforts Fail to Eliminate Contraception from Obscenity Laws, 1916-1937?". By 1920, many of these local leagues had disappeared. Most withered under the intense repression of dissent carried out by the federal government during and immediately after World War I under the auspices of the 1917 Federal Espionage and Sedition acts, which prohibited criticism of the government's conduct of the war. This crackdown included arrests, convictions, and deportations of leading voices of the American left and led to the closure of many leftist magazines and journals. See Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 160-63. Sanger's own celebrity increased in this period as news stories about birth control proliferated. The contradiction of Sanger's increasing celebrity even as the left in America was decimated has led some to conclude that Sanger's turn away from her radical political roots was rather opportune. However, Sanger's turn to birth control was itself a shift in perspective from one that saw class-based politics as the best route to a better world to one that focused on gender-based politics. And while she tempered her public statements, she continued to support those of her old radical friends who were targets of repression. This support earned her a lifetime of surveillance by the FBI; see Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 130-31, 161-62, and 171; and Katz, et al., Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, vol. 1, pp. 195-97. For criticism of Sanger for turning away from the left, see Gordon, Woman's Body, Chapters 9 and 10.

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19. See Katz, et al., Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, vol. 1, p. 194; and Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 145-46.

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20. In this ruling, the judge held that New York State law allowed physicians to prescribe contraception as a means to cure or prevent disease and he included pregnancy as a medical condition covered by the law. Sanger's subsequent clinics all employed physicians to conform to this court decision. Physicians did not always look favorably on clinics because they were potential competitors for fee-paying patients. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 63-65.

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21. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, Chapter 2; and Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 226, 230, 287-309, and 433-34.

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22. Tone, Devices and Desires, Chapter 7.

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23. Declining family income was not the only reason women felt pressure to control their fertility during the Depression years. High unemployment among men pushed married women into the labor force in large numbers. Although women found jobs more quickly than men throughout the 1930s, these jobs paid extremely low wages. For African American women the situation was dire; the working conditions of domestic service jobs worsened considerably. Many of Harlem's working women traveled each day to the "Bronx slave market," where they were hired by the day. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 79, 206.

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24. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 71. On abortion practices across the nation during the Depression, see Leslie Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), Chapter 5.

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25. Greenberg notes that one in three maternal deaths among African American women was the result of an illegal abortion. For white women, the statistic was one in seven; "Or Does It Explode?": Black Harlem in the Great Depression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. 186. On death rates from illegal abortions, see also U.S. Children's Bureau, Maternal Mortality in Fifteen States, Publication no. 223 (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1933), which concluded that complications from poorly performed abortions were the most common cause of preventable maternal deaths.

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26. On pressure on Congress to end laws prohibiting birth control, see Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 230, 325-35.

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27. See Rosalind Petchesky, Abortion and Woman's Choice (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1985), especially Chapters 1 and 10, on the enduring tensions between individual and social rights in reproductive politics.

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28. In any case, this right of contraception for physical and mental health was limited to married women. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 30-38.

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29. The minutes of the Advisory Council do not note any objections to the restriction of the clinic's practice to married women. See also Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 106-08 on the perspectives of Harlem's African American women with regard to women's proper role in racial uplift.

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30. Fisher's use of the generic masculine when discussing "the Negro" and birth control may seem odd, but this was the linguistic convention of the time. This description of "the Negro" as male subsumes women's needs, interests, and perspectives within that of the wider community. This convention may help illuminate why the voices of women are muted in the birth control debate. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 155.

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31. In fact, in 1941 the National Council of Negro Women was the first national women's organization to endorse birth control. The resolution stated, "We are resolved to urge to the Health Committee of every Negro organization throughout the country the inclusion of all public health programs, especially the less familiar one of Family Planning which aims to aid each family to have all the children it can support and afford, but no more--in order to insure better health, greater security and happiness for all." See McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 166.

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32. Margaret Ensign to Willa Murray, 14 February 1933, Reel 33, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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33. The controversy that continued to cling to birth control led many social agencies to be very cautious about referring clients to contraceptive clinics.

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34. See McCann, Birth Control Politics on Malthusian economic logic (p. 13) and concerns about differential fertility in this period (pp. 14 and 99-100). Differential fertility rates were often mistaken for a measure of faster growth of the poorer segments of the community. But growth rates are a consequence of fertility, mortality rates, and immigration. Poorer segments of the community also had higher death rates, thus mitigating the growth potential of higher fertility. This fact was (and is) often ignored in debates about differential fertility. Ethnically based restrictions on immigration were enacted by Congress in this period. See note 38 below.

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35. This argument resonates with that of national leaders who suggested that restricting fertility would undermine the nation's strength in the world. Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase "race suicide" to express this anxiety. For a discussion of race suicide, see Gordon, Woman's Body, pp. 136-58.

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36. See also Document 1 and Document 18 and Charles H. Garvin, "The Negro Doctor's Task," Birth Control Review 16 (November 1932): 269-70.

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37. In Article 1, Section 2, paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution, political representation in Congress and the electoral college was set for each state "by adding the whole Number of free persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, and three fifths of all other Persons." These numbers were to be updated every ten years by a constitutionally mandated census, the first such requirement in a modern nation-state. Race was not initially a marker of slave status, but very quickly "free" and "white" became synonymous. See Matthew Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), pp. 22-31.

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38. Immigration restriction set annual quotas that limited the number of persons from nations outside northern and western Europe. Compulsory sterilization laws applied only to those in public institutions such as prisons and facilities for the mentally handicapped. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 99-100, 107-110, 114-18; Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 215-17; and Katz, et al., Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, vol. 1, pp. 195-96. On the beliefs that a nation's institutions reflect the character of its people and that character was biologically based, see Margo J. Anderson, The American Census: A Social History (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988), p. 146.

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39. On eugenics, see McCann, Birth Control Politics, Chapter 4.

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40. This evolutionary view of intelligence seemed to be bolstered by the results of IQ tests conducted on army recruits during World War I. These data, which published the average scores of ethnic groups, linked intelligence to ethnicity. See Stephen J. Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (New York: Norton, 1981), pp. 192-233 for a critique of the testers' methods and conclusions.

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41. This reasoning came from Karl Pearson's contention that half of each generation is produced by a quarter of the previous generation and that the prolific quarter is disproportionately drawn from the unfit. The eugenicist term "unfit" resonates with the social Darwinism of the previous generation, which employed the catchphrase "the survival of the fittest." The phrase "old stock" was used in this period to refer to nativeborn white U.S. citizens. The U. S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of compulsory sterilization laws in Buck v. Bell in 1927; see McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 56-57 and 114.

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42. See Gordon, Woman's Body, p. 392. She uses the term "population control" rather than "birth control" to refer to methods and practices that allowed social elites to control the fertility of other groups through governmental means.

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43. W. E. B. Du Bois, "Race Relations in the United States," in The American Negro, special issue of Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 140 (November 1928): 6. See also E. Franklin Frazier, "The Negro Family," ibid., pp. 44-51; and Charles S. Johnson, "The Changing Economic Status of the Negro," ibid., pp. 138-44.

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44. Du Bois as quoted in Jessie Rodrique, "The Black Community and the Birth Control Movement," in Unequal Sisters, edited by Carol Du Bois and Vicki Ruiz, (New York: Routledge, 1990), p. 137. Rodrique provides a discussion of African American opposition to compulsory sterilization.

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45. Nancy Weiss, The National Urban League, 1910-1940 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974), pp. 117-25, 171-73. This program included handouts that gave advice about how to dress and behave in public. Middle-class African Americans often complained that they were unfairly judged by the behavior of the race's lowest elements. See also Osofsky, Harlem, pp. 131-35; and Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" on African American nativism and on antipathy to migrants from the South (17).

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46. McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 150.

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47. See Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 291-93 on clinic finances in this period. Sanger's work was funded by her husband, J. Noah Slee, who suffered financial losses of his own in 1932.

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48. McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 183. In 1929, there were 29 birth control clinics in the United States; by 1938 there were 374, of which 70 were affiliated with the Clinical Research Bureau.

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49. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" gives a detailed account of efforts by Harlem's churches and social agencies to prevent starvation and homelessness within the community between 1930 and 1935 (53-64).

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50. Clinic annual reports suggest that less than 10 percent of the clients at the Harlem Branch paid the full fee of $5, which included $3 for the exam and $2 for a diaphragm and a six months' supply of spermicidal jelly. More than half of the African American clients paid no fee at all. The fee for African American clients was reduced to $1 at the end of 1932. See Document 27 and Harlem Branch of the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, Annual Report, 1933 and 1934, Box 122B, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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51. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 177-87.

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52. Invitation, New York City Committee on Mother's Health, Commemoration of 10 Years of Service in Harlem, 1945, Florence Rose Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Document 1

53. See ABCL Minutes, 13 December 1922, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. See also Margaret Sanger to W. E. B. Du Bois, 11 November 1930, and W. E. B. Du Bois to Margaret Sanger, 17 November 1930, Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Du Bois is also listed among the first group of community leaders to accept Sanger's invitation to join the Advisory Council. There is no indication in the records that he ever participated in Council meetings, however (see Document 7).

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Document 2

54. See "The Rosenwald Schools," available online at http://www.rosenwaldschools.com/history.html.

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Document 3

55. For the 1929 raid on Sanger's clinic, see Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 282-83.

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Document 4

56. Chesler, Woman of Valor, p. 313, also notes Sanger's burst of energy and activity in 1929. The references that exist to the plans to open the Harlem clinic are ambiguous. In his letters, Edwin Embree talked about the community's request that Sanger open the clinic; see Edwin Embree to Margaret Sanger, 1 April 1929. Sanger wrote to Morris Waldman about this meeting with the Social Workers Club and expressed her hope that they would offer enthusiastic support for the clinic venture; see Margaret Sanger to Morris Waldman, 9 October 1929. Both on Reel 31, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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57. See Dorothy Bocker, Monthly Report, June 1924, Reel 34; Anne Kennedy, Memo, 21 October 1924, Reel 34; and ABCL, "Report of the Clinical Research Department for 1925," p. 5, Reel 24, all in Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Columbus Hill was the area whose boundaries were 60th and 64th Streets and 10th and 11th Avenues. This clinic's failure may be attributable to the fact that in the 1920s Harlem was becoming the primary center of African American community and its institutions. On the shift of the black population from Columbus Hill to Harlem, see Osofsky, Harlem, pp. 112-13; and Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" p. 33.

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58. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 33, 57. The New York Urban League still operates at the 136th Street location.

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Document 5

59. As quoted in Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" p. 581; see also p. 169.

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Document 6

60. Edwin R. Embree and Julia Waxman, Investment in People: The Story of the Julius Rosenwald Fund (New York: Harper, 1949), p. 107 (see also pp. 32-34 and 108-11); McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 75-79.

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61. The New York Foundation, which still exists in 2006, was established in 1909 with a gift from Alfred M. Heinsheimer. The foundation provided grants to New York City organizations that worked on local neighborhood issues. On the Foundation's decision not to provide funds to the Harlem clinic, see William Fuerst to Morris Waldman, 21 November 1929, and Margaret Sanger to Morris Waldman, 9 December 1929, in which she noted it was a "blow to get the turndown from the New York Foundation" but assured Waldman that plans for the clinic would move forward in any case. Both letters are on Reel 31, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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Document 7

62. As was her usual practice, Sanger formed the council after the clinic opened. Margaret Sanger and Hannah Stone pioneered the standards of clinical practices in birth control clinics. They were confident that they knew best how to meet the needs of women who sought the clinic's services. In Sanger's view, the primary purpose of advisory councils was to give advice on how best to build awareness and support for clinics within the local community among medical professionals, social service agencies, and prospective clients. This was the case with the advisory councils associated with the main Clinical Research Bureau as well. See Katz, et al., Selected Papers of Margaret Sanger, vol. 1, p. 348.

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Document 8

63. Little is known about Antoinette Field other than that she served as the primary nurse at the Harlem Branch during its first year. In accounting for the patterns of patient visits, Field said, "Fair responsibility is shown about return visits. Failure to return seems to be, first, money owed for supplies, 2nd, irresponsibility and laziness, 3rd, afraid to use because friends tell them it will cause cancer or sterility." See "Totals for Harlem Branch, February 1st, 1930-December 31st, 1930," draft report, Reel 33, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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64. For Sanger's willingness to fire those who did not act appropriately with clients at her clinics, see McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 152, and Chesler, Woman of Valor, p. 288. In a letter admonishing one staff member who worked in a supervisory role in both the downtown and the Harlem Branch clinics, Sanger noted that she sought "to create an atmosphere of welcome, of kindness, of understanding, where women may come and tell us their troubles and be received with understanding and not with suspicion or derision." See Margaret Sanger to Marjorie Prevost, 28 March 1932, Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. It is unclear in which of the two locations the incident that earned this rebuke occurred. However, this letter was sent shortly after the Harlem Advisory Council meeting in which council members voiced concerns about racial tensions in the clinic and is from a series of letters Sanger wrote in this period that reorganized the staff and practices of the Harlem Branch. Shortly after this letter was sent, Sanger replaced Prevost at the Harlem Branch (see Document 14).

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Document 9

65. Carrie Fuld (née Bamberger), the widow of Felix Fuld, was part of an important New York investment banking family. Felix Fuld had been a supporter of Morris Waldman's activities at the Rosenwald Fund (see Document 3). See Chesler, Woman of Valor, p. 324; and Morris Waldman to Margaret Sanger, 12 December 1929, Reel 31, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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66. See Embree and Waxman, Investment in People, p. 34.

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Document 10

67. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" p. 116.

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68. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 114-39.

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69. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 60-61, 133.

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70. On activities in preparation for the formation of the Advisory Council during the fall of 1930, see Antoinette Field to Margaret Sanger, 5 September 1930; Margaret Sanger to Antoinette Field, 26 November 1930; and Margaret Sanger to Peter Marshall Murray, 2 December 1930. All on Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The delay before the first formal meeting may have been due to Sanger's focus on efforts to launch a national campaign to change the federal Comstock Act. Those efforts often took her out of New York between 1930 and 1936. See Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 313-35. For more about the campaign to overturn Comstock, see "Why Did Congressional Lobbying Efforts Fail to Eliminate Contraception from Obscenity Laws, 1916-1937?" also on this website.

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Document 11

71. For guidelines for clinic management, see McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 182- 84; and CRB, "Suggestions for the Establishment of a Clinic," 26 January 1932, Reel 29, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The chair of such councils was generally Sanger or the medical director of the clinic.

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72. See Document 12 for the correction of Wright's position at the Harlem Hospital; he was not the president of the hospital, as these minutes state.

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Document 12

73. George Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1971), p. 258.

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74. On the myth of racial degeneracy, see Fredrickson, Black Image, pp. 262-71, 298-304, 325; George Fredrickson, White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), pp. 189-91, 274; and McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 144. On the neglect of African American health needs, see Edward Beardsley, A History of Neglect: Health Care for Blacks and Mill Workers in the Twentieth-Century South (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987), pp. 12-27, 130. For conditions in northern cities, see Osofsky, Harlem, pp. 21-24, 35-37, 42-43; and Calhoun, "Tuberculosis, Race," pp. 101-19.

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75. Chesler, Woman of Valor, p. 374.

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Document 14

76. The Rosenwald Fellowship program gave forty to sixty fellowships per year to African Americans and white southerners who supported racial integration to support their advanced study in a wide range of fields. Through this program many of the period's most influential African American intellectuals, writers, and artists were able to pursue educational opportunities that might otherwise have been impossible. See Embree and Waxman, Investment in People, pp. 133-56, 236, and 239.

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77. In 1942, Bousfield left the fund to join the U.S. Army, where he played a prominent but controversial role in the movement to desegregate the army's medical corps. He was assigned to set up a new general hospital at Fort Huachua, Arizona, one that would be "devoted entirely to the care of black patients under the authority of black medical personnel, the only black-staffed hospital" in the U.S. military. Racially segregated medical facilities were the standard at this time; not only were African Americans denied treatment at whites-only facilities, but African American medical practitioners were prevented from treating white patients. This move by military officials to establish a black-run facility seemed designed to sidestep the issue of integration. It angered leaders of the National Medical Association, who had been lobbying for integrated wards throughout the armed forces medical corps. Their anger led the association to censure Bousfield for agreeing to run the new facility, a decision the association saw as a capitulation to the logic of racially segregated medicine. Darlene Clark Hine identifies this as a turning point in the political strategies of African American medical professionals. In this instance, the strategy of using parallel organizations to demonstrate the competence of African American professionals and thereby undermine the rationale for segregation was no longer sufficient. Full integration had become the goal. Bousfield ended up on the wrong side of this history, committing, as Hine notes, "political malpractice." See Hine, "Black Professionals," pp. 1283, 1288-90. Mabel Staupers, who attended this Advisory Council meeting, also played a vital role in the struggle to integrate the armed forces medical corps (see Document 37).

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78. See Document 18 for Dr. Murray's views on the importance of birth control to the African American community.

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79. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 106-08, on Harlem women's strong ties to churches and church-based women's groups in this period.

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Document 15

80. "Hannah Stone: The Madonna of the Clinic," The Margaret Sanger Papers Newsletter 9 (Winter 1994/1995), p. 3, available online at http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/hannah_stone. The text of One Package v. the United States is available at the document project "Why Did Congressional Lobbying Efforts Fail to Eliminate Contraception from Obscenity Laws, 1916-1937?" on this website.

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81. For more about the Comstock Act and efforts to dismantle it, see the document project "Why Did Congressional Lobbying Efforts Fail to Eliminate Contraception from Obscenity Laws, 1916-1937?" also on this website.

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82. "Hannah Stone: The Madonna of the Clinic," p. 3. See also Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 287-309 and 372-74. Stone's death was a tragic loss to the CRB and the birth control movement. For the reaction to her death by members of the staff and Advisory Council, see Florence Rose to Mrs. Fuld, 17 November 1941, Box 6, Florence Rose Papers, 1832-1970, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Document 16

83. On the conventions of segregation in the U.S. health care system at this time and the struggles of African American medical professionals against these conventions, see Hine, "Black Professionals," pp. 1279-94; and Vanessa Gamble, Making a Place for Ourselves: The Black Hospital Movement, 1920-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). In Stone's reputation with patients and their anxieties about clinic visits, see Chesler, Woman of Valor, p. 278. Clinic visits involved the pelvic exam as well as requests for intimate details about clients' lives in order to complete their medical history.

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84. Dr. Ellis was the only male physician to work in the clinic at this time. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 151-52.

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Document 17A

85. See Petchesky, Abortion and Woman's Choice, especially Chapters 1 and 10, on the enduring tensions between individual and social rights in reproductive politics.

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86. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 155; and Charles Valenza, "Was Margaret Sanger a Racist?" Family Planning Perspectives, 17 (January-February 1985): 44-46.

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87. This term is taken from eugenics. See the introduction and bibliography for this project for discussions of the relationship between eugenics and the birth control movement.

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88. This issue was the second of three special issues of the Birth Control Review devoted to African Americans. The first was published in September 1919 (volume III, no. 9). The third, largely a reprint of this 1932 issue, appeared in May 1938 (volume XXII, no. 8).

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Document 19

89. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 150.

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Document 20

90. See "Totals for Harlem Branch, February 1st, 1930-December 31st, 1930," draft report, Reel 33, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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Document 22

91. Earlier Advisory Council meetings about the name of the clinic had referred to the difficulty of identifying the clinic's purpose and presence without explicit advertisement. This problem perhaps continued to limit the growth of the clinic (see Document 11 and Document 12).

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Document 24

92. On the Housewives' League and Bearden's role in it, see Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" p. 116. For a brief biography of Bessye Bearden (1891-1943), see The New York Public Library Digital Library Collections, http://digilib.nypl.org/dynaweb/ead/scm/scm73bb/@Generic_BookView.

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Document 25

93. Dr. Freeman, head of the health program at the church, made the arrangements for Sanger's speech. This article appears to have been ghostwritten at Dr. Freeman's request by Elizabeth Lautermilch; see Elizabeth Lautermilch to Margaret Sanger, 23 November 1932, Box 122b, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass.

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94. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 114-39 for the Don't Buy Where You Can't Work campaign and pp. 99 and 133-37 for the Greater New York Coordinating Committee on Employment.

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95. For Powell's congressional service, see Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 59 and 203; and his entry at "The Political Graveyard" Web site at http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/powell.html.

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Document 29

96. See Marie Levinson to Margaret Sanger, ca. February 1933, for a list of Levinson's speeches; S. A. Allen to Margaret Sanger, 8 February 1933. Both on Reel 33, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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Document 30

97. On clinic finances in this period, see Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 291-93.

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98. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 53-64, gives a detailed account of efforts by Harlem's churches and social agencies to prevent starvation and homelessness within the community during the period 1930 to 1935. See also note 107 below.

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99. See Harlem Branch of the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, Annual Report, 1933 and 1934, Box 122B, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Document 31

100. See Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 295-97 on the emerging evidence of women's dissatisfaction with the diaphragm.

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101. The Clinical Research Bureau and the American Birth Control League operated independently of each other after 1928. On the relationship between Sanger and the ABCL at this time, see McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 177-87; and Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 226-31.

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Document 32A

102. See Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" p. 59; and Claude McKay, Harlem: Negro Metropolis (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1940), pp. 32-72.

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Document 37

103. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, p. 166.

   Staupers is perhaps best known for the prominent role she played in the integration of the army nursing corps during World War II. Unlike Dr. Midian Bousfield, who was also a key figure in this important episode (see Document 14), Staupers straddled the "ideological divide between parallelism and segregation on the one hand and full inclusion on the other." In late 1944, when military officials declared that there was a shortage of nurses and embarked on a plan to draft nurses, Staupers directly challenged the segregationist policy that limited African American nurses to wards of African American patients or German prisoners of war. The War Department backed down, and within weeks the first African American nurses crossed the military color line. Hine, "Black Professionals," pp. 1283, 1291-93; see also Hine, Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890-1950 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989), pp. 126-27.

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104. See Document 2, Document 6, and Document 28A. See also Chesler, Woman of Valor, pp. 291-93, on clinic finances in this period.

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105. See Embree and Waxman, Investment in People, pp. 107, 32-34, and 108-11; and McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 75-79.

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106. Clinic annual reports suggest that less than 10 percent of the patients at the Harlem Branch clinic paid the full fee of $5. More than half of the African American patients paid no fee at all. See Document 22 and Document 27; and Harlem Branch of the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, Annual Report, 1933 and 1934, Box 122B, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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107. Greenberg, "Or Does It Explode?" pp. 53-64. Greenberg estimates that churches in Harlem fed several thousand people a day between 1930 and 1934.

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Document 38

108. See Margaret Sanger to Hazel Zborowski, 20 May 1935, Reel 32, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

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109. The exact sequence of events is not entirely clear, but at least one letter that announced the new clinic referred to the gift Zborowski mentioned at this meeting. See Form Letter to Patients to Be Signed by Chairman of the New York City Committee and Director of the Clinical Research Bureau, ca. June 1935, Box 123, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. On the tensions between Sanger's group and the ABCL leadership at this time, see Chesler, Woman of Valor, p. 316 and p. 546 note 4; and McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 177-87. Both sources note the tendency of ABCL leaders to overstate the virtues of their efforts compared to Sanger's.

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110. See Carol Nash, "Planned Families for New York Mothers: An Evaluation of Neighborhood Center Programs, 1930-1938," Birth Control Review, n.s., 6 (November 1938): 128-29.

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Document 39

111. There appears to have been at least one meeting with the Advisory Council members; the minutes of the meeting to finalize arrangements for the transfer refers to a prior meeting for which no minutes were kept. See Document 38.

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112. See also Margaret Sanger to Frances Ackerman, 10 May 1935, Reel 40, Papers of Margaret Sanger, 1900-1966, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. In this letter to a longtime supporter, Sanger made it clear that she did not talk directly with African American members of the council about the transfer. She also expressed concern that the ABCL would not treat the council members as equals.

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Document 40

113. The Birth Control Federation of America was formed in 1939 when the ABCL and the Clinical Research Bureau reunited. In 1942, this organization became the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Perhaps as a consequence of her work with Staupers and other Advisory Council members, Sanger argued for a plan of action that would put African Americans in charge of outreach to their community. This plan was not followed by the Division of Negro Service; instead, it established two clinics run by white physicians in southern states. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 187-201. See also Division of Negro Service, Advisory Council Meeting Minutes, 12 December 1942, Box 121, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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114. On Staupers's activities in the 1940s and the resolution of the National Council of Negro Women, see "News," Division of Negro Service, Birth Control Federation of America, Christmas 1941, p. 2, Box 121, Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts. On Staupers's speech at the memorial service for Hannah Stone, see Florence Rose to Carrie Fuld, 17 November 1941, Box 6, Florence Rose Papers, 1832-1970, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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Document 41

115. It is not clear if the meeting Sanger referred to was the annual meeting of the National Council of Negro Women or the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses.

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116. This interpretation has some merit. The clinic transfer took place in June, and Staupers' letter was written in August. The advisory boards of charitable social service agencies and reform groups commonly did not meet during the summer months, when many New Yorkers of means left the city for suburban summer homes and vacations. This might explain the lack of contact between the ABCL and the Harlem Advisory Board. Still, the lack of a sense of urgency about bringing the council members on board at the new clinic reflects the power dynamics Staupers complained about.

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117. This plan was not followed by the BCFA's Division of Negro Service; instead, it established two clinics run by white physicians in southern states. See McCann, Birth Control Politics, pp. 160-68.

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Document 42

118. The numbers Moore cited were preliminary and seemed to have raised questions for Stone, who had asked for more information in the letter to which this is a response.

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119. This arrangement excluded Stone and Sanger, both of whom had expressed a desire to remain on the new Harlem advisory council, because they did not live in Harlem and were not members of the New York City Committee.

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Document 43

120. Invitation, New York City Committee on Mother's Health, Commemoration of 10 Years of Service in Harlem, 1945, Florence Rose Papers, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts.

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