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Invisible : the forgotten story of the black woman lawyer who took down America's most powerful mobster

by Carter, Stephen L., 1954-

Format: Print Book 2018.
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The bestselling author delves into his past and discovers the inspiring story of his grandmother's extraordinary life

She was black and a woman and a prosecutor, a graduate of Smith College and the granddaughter of slaves, as dazzlingly unlikely a combination as one could imagine in New York of the 1930s--and without the strategy she devised, Lucky Luciano, the most powerful Mafia boss in history, would never have been convicted. When special prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey selected twenty lawyers to help him clean up the city's underworld, she was the only member of his team who was not a white male.

Eunice Hunton Carter, Stephen Carter's grandmother, was raised in a world of stultifying expectations about race and gender, yet by the 1940s, her professional and political successes had made her one of the most famous black women in America. But her triumphs were shadowed by prejudice and tragedy. Greatly complicating her rise was her difficult relationship with her younger brother, Alphaeus, an avowed Communist who--together with his friend Dashiell Hammett--would go to prison duringthe McCarthy era. Yet she remained unbowed.

Moving, haunting, and as fast-paced as a novel, Invisible tells the true story of a woman who often found her path blocked by the social and political expectations of her time. But Eunice Carter never accepted defeat, and thanks to her grandson's remarkable book, her long forgotten story is once again visible.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "The mid-twentieth century was a fascinating period in African American history, when intellectual giants and social pioneers like Mary McLeod Bethune, W. E. B. DuBois, and Paul Robeson interacted with presidents and power brokers and the great Negro Club movement held sway over African American society. Eunice Carter, best-selling crime-writer Stephen L. Carter's grandmother, was a leading figure in this milieu: one of a tiny handful of female African American lawyers, she was connected professionally and socially with the most influential people of the day. As a member of the National Council of Negro Women and the NAACP, and an early observer at the United Nations, she, along with her family, were closely involved in key issues and political events. As a protégé of New York district attorney Thomas E. Dewey, she conceived of the strategy for indicting Lucky Luciano. Oddly enough, though she is the central figure, Eunice is not the book's most interesting character. Carter connects her failure to achieve lasting fame to her brother, Alphaeus, who was jailed during the Red Scare and whose unpardonable crimes included organizing black voter-registration drives and attacking the Republican Party. There is an intriguing story to be told about African American political divisions, the burgeoning civil rights movement, and Alphaeus' role in the fight against racism, colonialism, and McCarthyism. One hopes Carter will explore those subjects in his next book. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Carter's millions of readers will be curious about his return to nonfiction to share a slice of his family's history within the larger national picture.--Lesley Williams Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Bestseller Carter (Back Channel) narrates the life story of his exceptional grandmother, Eunice Carter, an African-American attorney who masterminded the sting operation that resulted in the imprisonment of mobster Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Eunice Carter graduated from Smith College cum laude with a bachelor's and master's in just four years, and went on to attend Fordham Law before being employed by the future governor of New York and Republican presidential nominee Thomas Dewey. Working under Dewey, Eunice spearheaded the investigation that proved the mob was running New York City's brothels and helped flip the witnesses that specified Luciano's involvement. For years after, however, Dewey repeatedly passed her over when making appointments. The author provides fascinating analysis on this time in history in which most African-Americans moved from voting Republican to Democrat, leaving conservatives like his grandmother and Dewey out in the cold. Carter also provides background on Eunice's parents, both renowned African-American rights activists; explores her tense relationship with her brother, whose Communist ties very likely hindered her success; and discusses her less-than-ideal marriage. And he evokes her Harlem, where "women wore fancy hats. Men wore colorful suits.... In the clubs, jazz combos played... [and] the rising black bourgeoisie flourished." Carter's enthusiasm for his grandmother's incredible fortitude despite numerous setbacks is contagious; Eunice Carter's story is another hidden gem of African-American history. Photos. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Carter, Stephen L., -- 1954- -- Family.
African American authors -- Biography.
African American families -- Biography.
African American women lawyers -- Biography.
Publisher New York, NY :2018.
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description xviii, 364 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 283-350) and index.
ISBN 9781250121974
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