In this manuscript, Hicks examines the lives and experiences of working-class black women in early twentieth-century New York. By placing the hopes, concerns, and decisions of these women at the center of an urban narrative, Hicks explores average women's expectations of themselves and their communities as well as their families' and communities' expectations of them. She presents a range of women's ideas about and responses to respectability, domesticity, safety, and sexual desire in the urban North, thereby revealing the complexity of black women's experiences from a vantage point different from that provided by uplift studies. The manuscript focuses on three major themes: urban reform and justice, gender and the criminal justice system, and the dynamics of black families. These themes work to articulate a more full and heretofore-neglected understanding of black working-class women, their relationships with their families, and their interactions with the social welfare and criminal justice systems.