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Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster

por Stephen L. Carter

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
24320112,733 (3.66)17
Biography & Autobiography. True Crime. African American Nonfiction. Nonfiction. HTML:

Bestselling author Stephen L. Carter delves into his past and retrieves 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 1930sand 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 whotogether with his friend Dashiell Hammettwould go to prison during the McCarthy era. Yet she remained unbowed.
Moving, haunting, and as fast-paced as fiction, 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 audiobook, her long forgotten story is once again visible.

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Eunice Hunton Carter was a towering figure of American history whose many accomplishments have been forgotten or never given their true due because she was a Black woman. Carter became a lawyer in the 1930s and ended up working with Thomas Dewey as he prosecuted gangsters in New York City, and moved on to become one of the most known Black Americans in the 1940s as she worked tirelessly for equality and recognition. Her grandson’s biography, Invisible, tells her story with a solid base of primary sources and a passable effort at unbias reporting. Invisible is an excellent nonfiction book for history buffs looking for an unlikely but true tale of Black perseverance in the 1930s through the 1950s. ( )
  Hccpsk | Feb 6, 2024 |
Stellar storytelling, stellar research, stellar writing.

A couple of notes:
-I really appreciated how Carter embraces the unknown. He makes assumptions but is careful to examine ALL the possibilities. And when there are gaps in his knowledge, due to lack of sources, etc., he is quick to admit that they are there. This creates trust between him and the reader.

-Similarly, he is quick to point out perceived disconnects between beliefs and behavior. Again, creating trust in him as a reliable researcher and narrator.

-Why wasn't Addie Hunton in my MA reading list? Unfortunately, I know why. A terrible byproduct of racism is the elimination of important and valuable voices. Her lectures would have been incredibly useful for my thesis. These are writers and speakers that need to be brought back into the "canon." *

- This opens up the reader's eyes to historical, turn-of-the-prior-century racism. Even in the North. The "Harlem Rennaisance" needs to be taught differently. Unfortunately, in many classes and books, it's often the token nod to a hugely influential part of our history.

- It also illustrates how things have changed with technology. It really used to be all about people. Real people who traveled and spoke and worked together. Now... technology has almost erased the need for crusaders like Addie. And that is a huge tragedy.

-I'm not sure if he meant to do this, but I found tracking political parties and their values invariably fascinating. Values in those parties seem to fluctuate and change through time, as much as party fanatics might claim otherwise.

Finally, Carter's summation is a wonderful tribute to his grandmother and those of her generation and the following generations that fought and still fight racism. "The wall is weakening."

Let's help it come down.

*Note-- I feel like it's exclusion was not purposeful on everybody's part. The issue is that the first generation deemed those lectures to be useless and, therefore, they were forgotten by many and not taught to the succeeding generation of educators. However, this is still an issue. Academia owes it to itself to research those that may have been excluded and insert them back into the canon. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
I, for one, did not know that Lucky Luciano was taken down by an African American woman prosecutor in the 30s. Amazingly enough, this is only a tiny part of the story of Eunice Hunton Carter (the grandmother of the author), a remarkable woman, who should have had a more brilliant career than she did, being constantly passed over for higher positions because of her sex and race. The life of EHC is fully embedded in the activism of her parents (her mother toured the segregated and lynching South, on her own, to organize African Americans, her father was an officer in the WMCA), the Harlem Renaissance, luminaries such as W.E.B. Dubois, Thurgood Marshall, and the rest of the African American cultural elite. EHC both resented and had to submit to the demands of institutional racism and sexism, but also the demands the Harlem's Great Social Pyramid ruled by the Czarinas.
The book starts with the Atlanta riots of 1906 (her family lived there at the time) all the way to the McCarthy era (her brother was a communist who ended up leaving the US and joining Dubois in Ghana, and then settling in Zambia). EHC had judicial and political ambitions tied to Thomas Dewey and the GOP, squashed on both counts (and also because the FBI, under Hoover, had listed her brother as one to arrest in case of national emergency and had a 700-page file on), later reinventing herself as an internationalist after the creation of the UN (she did not like FDR but stroke a friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt). As successful as she was, there is no question that systemic and personal elements outside of her control (racism, sexism, red scare) thwarted what should have been an even more major career than she had. ( )
  SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
I was glad I read this book. Recently I've been wanting to read more books showcasing powerful, intelligent and influential women. Eunice's story was fascinating, I would have loved for her to climb higher in the ranks of law. But she never gave up her desire to influence and create a better world and I commend her. Another interesting part of book was learning about Harlem society and the "darker nation". Three and a half stars because I would have liked a more personal story.e.g. I kept wondering where her husband was while Eunice was working extremely long days and journeying to so many countries. We find out more about their marriage toward the end but it was a little too late for me. Also, more info re her son. How did she have any kind of relationship with him when so much of his young life he was shipped off to other places? Still, glad to know about Eunice Carter, will always appreciate her contributions to black an white society. ( )
  debann6354 | Sep 8, 2019 |
Esta crítica foi escrita no âmbito dos Primeiros Críticos do LibraryThing.
From the prologue: ”In the fall of 2014, two episodes o HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire', which is set during and just after Prohibition, featured a black female lawyer who worked for the New York district attorney. The role was small. She had perhaps two lines, Still, viewers were incredulous. Online comment threads swiftly filled with mockery: Ridiculous. Anachronistic. One post after another insisted that there weren't ablack lawyers back then – not black women lawyers, anyway. And certainly there were no black female prosecutors. The casting, the skeptics insisted, was just another example of Hollywood political correctness run amok.

'But they were wrong. My Nana Eunice was real and really did prosecute mobsters … and lived a remarkable life ...”
p. xvii

This is a story that shouldn't be lost to history. Author Stephen L. Carter's grandmother was an amazing woman, becoming the first black woman prosecuting attorney for New York in the 1930's. Later she was an advocate on the national and international stage.

Unfortunately, due to the times she did not accomplish her dream of becoming New York's first black woman judge. She was a staunch Republican and backed the 'wrong horse', her boss Thomas E Dewey in the Presidential elections against Franklin D. Roosevelt. In addition, her brother was an ardent communist in an era when J Edgar Hoover and Joseph McCarthy blackballed family members for their association.

Stymied on the national stage, Ms Carter turned to international projects.

It's a fascinating story and well researched, but a little dry.

I see it as a great addition to Black history, in a time when many can only offer a very small handful of names of early black activists and pioneers in their field.

I do believe the publisher has sadly misrepresented this book by giving it the subtitle “The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster.” Yes, she did this, but it's only a very small part of her story. Readers believing this book focuses on the 'true crime' aspect may be disappointed. ( )
  streamsong | Mar 23, 2019 |
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Biography & Autobiography. True Crime. African American Nonfiction. Nonfiction. HTML:

Bestselling author Stephen L. Carter delves into his past and retrieves 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 1930sand 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 whotogether with his friend Dashiell Hammettwould go to prison during the McCarthy era. Yet she remained unbowed.
Moving, haunting, and as fast-paced as fiction, 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 audiobook, her long forgotten story is once again visible.

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