BelleSchrieber

Belle Schreiber was a prostitute at an all-white brothel in Chicago in the early 1900’s. She had come to Chicago to be a secretary, but ended up at the exclusive Everleigh Club located in the Levee District. Not a lot is known about her life, mainly due to the fact that most prostitutes went under various aliases.

In March of 1909, the famous (and first black) heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson, visited the club. Despite it being “all-white” Johnson was permitted to take several girls for a “ride” in his car. One of these women was 23 year old Belle. She was fired by the madame for sleeping with Johnson, but it didn’t matter- at this point, she was Jack’s favorite and began traveling with him. She was soon replaced by another prostitute by the name of Etta Duryea. Belle and Jack had violent fights and despite her efforts to leave him, she could not find work at other brothels because it was well known that she was Johnson’s lover.  In October of 1910, Johnson helped Belle open her own brothel. He paid for everything- rent, furniture, expenses, etc. But it failed.

When Johnson moved on to marry not one, but two white women, Belle’s jealousy got the best of her. She had always referred to herself as Mrs. Jack Johnson, so the news did not go over well. Strung out on absinthe and drugs- she agreed to testify for the US Government in prosecuting Johnson for violating the 1910 Mann Act (this prohibited taking a woman across state lines for prostitution.) Her testimony sent him to prison, ruined his career, and forced him into exile in Canada. The charges were most definitely motivated by blatant racism- so resorting to a strung-out, jealous whore seemed reasonable. WHAT? *face palm*

There is a more in-depth article here: http://host.madison.com/lifestyles/a-real-knockout-milwaukee-prostitute-was-jack-johnson-s-downfall/article_af87971b-51e0-5a40-b672-b9fe74c414ab.html

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