Memphis: Negro Brothel (Location Key)


The brothel with black prostitutes to which Clarence Snopes takes Fonzo and Virgil in Sanctuary is "a house with red shades in the lighted windows" on a "narrow, dark street" (198). The "street of negro stores and theatres" that the men cross to get there is certainly Beale Street, which by the late 1920s was famous for its black-owned businesses and the blues of W. C. Handy. Clarence takes them to this place as an economy measure. Like so much else in Faulkner's South, the business of prostitution was shaped by the Jim Crow laws. The prostitutes in this brothel are all black, and charge less than white prostitutes in the white houses. Apparently this place serves customers from both races; at least, there are "negro men" as well as white ones inside it (198).

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Memphis: Negro Brothel
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Memphis: Negro Brothel

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