Quantcast

Thursday, July 11, 2013

27

Two Tales of Loose Women

At Collector's Weekly, a piece about lesbian blues singers during the Harlem Renaissance:

As it turns out, the blues world was the perfect realm for people who were thought of as “sexual deviants” to inhabit, as it thrived far outside the scope of the dominant white American culture in the early 20th century.... In 1930’s “The Boy in the Boat,” Ma Rainey’s protégé, Bessie Smith sang, “When you see two women walking hand in hand, just look ‘em over and try to understand: They’ll go to those parties—have the lights down low—only those parties where women can go.” A married woman who kept a female lover on the road with her, Smith is known to have exploded at a girlfriend, “I got twelve women on this show, and I can have one every night if I want it.”

Then, at Smithsonian Magazine, a longer article about Civil War-era prostitution (an estimated 3-5% of New York City women sold sex at some point during this period!), and more specifically about what happened to the population of prostitutes in Nashville in the early 1860's after their ranks ballooned from a two hundred to several thousand in just a few years. First, the "worst" prostitutes were sent to Louisville on a brand-new steamship, wonderfully named the Idahoe:

Spalding ordered Newcomb to take the Idahoe on a maiden voyage northward (ideally to Louisville, but Spalding wasn’t particular) with 111 of Nashville’s most infamous sex workers as passengers. Newcomb and his crew of three were given rations enough to last the passengers to Louisville, but otherwise they were on their own. The local press delighted in the story, encouraging readers to “bid goodbye to those frail sisters once and for all.

Who will write the screenplay about that ship? The voyage was unsuccessful, as no city would allow the girls to get off the boat, and as the women had "managed to smuggle a little liquor on board," the atmosphere was getting messy. Finally, the provost marshal of Nashville proposed the first legalized system for prostitution in America, and implemented it: hundreds of women were licensed, required to attend regular check-ups, and confined to the "Ho-Spital" (industry term) if infected with any disease. The system was disbanded after the war (although the few pockets of regulated sex commerce in America today follow a similar structure) and the Idahoe never regained its good name:

Even after collecting nearly $6,000, Newcomb knew the Idahoe would never again cruise the rivers of the Southeastern United States. “I told them it would forever ruin her reputation as a passenger boat”, he told officials during one of his attempts to be compensated. “It was done, so she is now & since known as the floating whore house.”

27 Comments / Post A Comment

stonefruit

Did anyone else see that episode of Cold Case that's, loosely speaking, about lesbians and the blues scene in Philly during the time of the Harlem Renaissance? One of them is played by the actress who played Jackie on Veronica Mars, and the other is played by the actress who (I think) played the blond lead character on American Dreams?

Just me?

SarcasticFringehead

@stonefruit I think I saw that one too! I like it when we get reminders that gay relationships weren't just invented, like, 20 years ago.

aphrabean

I think "Civil War Era Sex Worker" might be the worst job ever? But maybe that's just because being a lady in most times and places was also the worst job ever. Still. So many stinky bearded dudes, so many untreatable infections! I hope you enjoyed your party boat of shame to the best of your abilities, ladies.

And then Katie said

Reading the Smithsonian piece now. LOL, "maiden voyage."

milenakent

i have loved this xx@n

Journie

I would pay a considerable amount to go on a river cruise aboard an infamous former floating brothel.

jimmyrapper

I think "Civil War Era Sex Worker" might be the worst job ever? But maybe that's just because being a lady in most times and places was also the worst job ever. Still. So many stinky bearded dudes, so many untreatable infections! I hope you enjoyed your party boat of shame to the best of your abilities, ladies. best project management software

bill.marks

I stumbled upon this I have found It positively useful and it has helped me out laina 50

Alexmen

I hope you enjoyed your party boat of shame to the best of your abilities, ladies.... lol when take nashor

mans

Mobil Sedan COrolla,IDRPOKER.com Agen Texas Poker Online Indonesia Terpercaya best project management software what does bubblegum casting do

jimmyrapper

I think "Civil War Era Sex Worker" might be the worst job ever? But maybe that's just because being a lady in most times and places was also the worst job ever. Still. So many stinky bearded dudes, so many untreatable infections! I hope you enjoyed your party boat of shame to the best of your abilities, ladies Tips by Europe 4 Mobile

mans

you as marketers will be able to further refine your messaging to the prospect.is bubblegum casting legitimate

samad

brought an expansion of our laboratory chemicals and solutions. We used our pharmaceutical chemical experience to address the needs of the region's booming biotech lista do europarlamentu opolskie

samad

There are many kinds of bonds out there, but none may be as useful as a bail bond. As many are probably aware, the idea of bail comes from the structure of court and how much a person will have to pay to get them, busy-holandia.com.pl

Edmon

I just could not depart your site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the usual information an individual supply in your visitors? Is gonna be back ceaselessly in order to check up on new posts. vigrx plus results

Edmon

Keep up the wonderful work vigrx plus scam

bill.marks

The processors are brand new silicon, so they often don’t pass BIOS tests much less boot up fully. But my work still had to get done. I did that work for a month and a half to get results that only took a day later on when everything was working correctly. I had to come in late at night and on the weekends to try to get the most out of the time available just to meet deadlines. That definitely put stress on my home life. bforex احتيال

bill.marks

I did that work for a month and a half to get results that only took a day later on when everything was working correctly. I had to come in late at night and on the weekends to try to get the most out of the time available just to meet deadlines. High PR Blog Comments

blackwater0002@gmail.com

did that work for a month and a half to get results that only took a day later on when everything was w coal merchant

blackwater0002@gmail.com

20th century.... In 1930’s “The Boy in the Boat,” Ma Rainey’s protégé, Bessie Smith sang, “Wh usaphlebotomytraining.com USA\'s Best classes

usikhan58@gmail.com

t work for a month and a half to get results that only took a day later on when everything was working correctly. I had to come in late at night and on the weekends to try to get the most out of the time available just to meet malwaredoc.com malware removal guide

usikhan58@gmail.com

ork for a month and a half to get results that only took a day later on when everything was working correctly. I had to come in late at night and on the weekends to try to get the most out of the time available just to meet how to grow penis without pills

Alexmen

get results that only took a day later on when everything ...dofollow blog comments

usikhan58@gmail.com

month and a half to get results that only took a day later on when everything was working correctly. I had to come in late at night and on the weekends to try to get the most out of the graphic design australia

usikhan58@gmail.com

nd a half to get results that only took a day later on when everything was working correctly. I had to come in late at night and on the weekends to try to get the most out of the blog comments seo

usikhan58@gmail.com

to get results that only took a day later on We Buy Houses

usikhan58@gmail.com

a half to get results that only took a day later on when everything was working correctly. I had to come in late at night and on the w Free PDF Downloads

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account