The Numbers Racket: One Woman’s Story of the Illegal Street Lottery in Detroit
Novelist and professor Bridgett Davis will share the story of her mother, who ran an illegal street lottery in Detroit for more than thirty years. Fannie Davis’s numbers operation provided a middle-class lifestyle for her family, but it was built on a risky foundation: an illegal gambling racket she managed to keep going despite constant law enforcement scrutiny and challenges from rivals.
A book signing will follow this program in the courtroom. Pre-order your signed copy of The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers.
Bridgett M. Davis is a novelist, essayist, teacher, filmmaker, memoirist and curator. She pronounces her name Bridge-JET.
She is author of the memoir The World According To Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, a New York Times Editors’ Choice, and named a Best Book of 2019 by Kirkus Reviews and Real Simple magazine.
Davis’ second novel, Into The Go-Slow, was selected as a best book of 2014 by Salon, The San Francisco Chronicle, BookRiot, Bustle and The Root, among others. Time Out New York named Davis one of “10 New York Authors to Read Right Now”. Into The Go-Slow was praised by Nigerian writer Chris Abani as, “a beautiful allegory of love, family, expansion, hope and transformation”.
Davis’ debut novel Shifting Through Neutral, published by Amistad/Harper Collins in 2004, was a finalist for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award; A Quarterly Black Review bestseller and an “Original Voices” selection by Border’s Books. Davis was selected as 2005 New Author of the Year by Go on Girl! Book Club — the largest national reading group for African-American women.
She is also writer/director of the critically acclaimed, award-winning film Naked Acts, which screened at a host of festivals in the US, Europe, and Africa before having its theatrical and DVD release. Indiana University’s Black Film Center/Archive honored Davis on the 20th anniversary of the film’s production. The film is now part of the Black Film Archive’s permanent collection.
A major advocate for promoting and nurturing literary talent by people of color, Davis is co-founder and curator for Words@Weeksville, a monthly reading series held at Weeksville Heritage Center in Central Brooklyn.
With an early career as a newspaper reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, Davis’ articles have appeared in a host of newspapers and magazines; more recently her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Los Angeles Times, Electric Lit and The Millions.
Equally dedicated to her work as a teacher and mentor, Davis is Professor of Journalism and the Writing Professions at Baruch College, CUNY, where she teaches Creative, Film and Narrative Writing. She also facilitates writing workshops for junior faculty of color and women seeking to complete and publish their creative and scholarly works.
A graduate of Spelman College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Davis lives in Brooklyn with family.