Stephanie Saint-Clair (Dec 1886 – Dec 1969) was a mob boss who ran numerous criminal enterprises in Harlem, New York in the early part of the 1900s. She ran a successful numbers game in Harlem and was an activist for the black community.
Saint-Clair was born of mixed French and African descent on Martinique. Her mother worked hard to send her daughter to school. When Saint-Clair turned 15, her mother became very ill and she had to leave school. She saved some money and, after the death of her mother, left Martinique for France in 1912. Even though she could read and write, she could not find decent employment. She emigrated to the United States around 23. She used the long voyage to learn English. In Harlem, she decided to start her own business, selling controlled drugs.
Months afterwards, she employed her own men, bribed cops, and on April 12, 1917, invested $10,000 of her own money in a clandestine lottery game in Harlem. As a result of her success running one of the leading numbers games in the city, she became known throughout Manhattan as "Queenie", but Harlem residents referred to her as "Madame Saint-Clair".
She was involved in policy banking. Policy banking was the only way for black individuals living in Harlem to invest their money.
Saint-Clair helped the black community in Harlem by providing many with jobs as numbers runners and other jobs within her business. Because of her success in the numbers game, she lived a lavish life.
Saint-Clair was known to put out ads in the local newspapers educating the Harlem community about their legal rights, advocating for voting rights, and calling out police brutality against the black community.
By the 1940s, "Bumpy" Johnson had become the reigning king in Harlem, while Saint-Clair became less and less involved in the numbers game.
After Saint-Clair retired from the numbers game, she started a new era of her life as an advocate for political reform. She continued to write columns in the local newspaper about discrimination and other issues facing the black community.
She died quietly and still wealthy in 1969, around the age of 82