An NAACP Image Award Nominee, Queenie: Godmother of Harlem is a historical graphic novel inspired by the life of legendary mobster Stephanie Saint-Clair, the infamous criminal who made herself a legend in the 1930s.
“It’s original, entertaining, riveting, moving. A beautiful piece of art, a must-read!” —Whoopi Goldberg
Born on a plantation in the French colony of Martinique, Stephanie Saint-Clair left the island in 1912 and headed for the United States, eager to make a new life for herself. In New York she found success, rising up through poverty and battling extreme racism to become the ruthless queen of Harlem’s mafia and a fierce defender of the Black community.
A racketeer and a bootlegger, Saint-Clair dedicated her wealth and compassion to the struggling masses of Harlem, giving loans and paying debts to those around her. But with Prohibition ending, and under threat by Italian mobsters seeking to take control of her operation, she launched a merciless war to save her territory and her skin. In an America still swollen by depression and segregation, Saint-Clair understood that her image was a tool she could use to establish her power and wield as a weapon against her opponents.
Authors Elizabeth Colomba and Aurelie Levy’s meticulous details—in both story and art—bring Saint-Clair’s story to life in a tense narrative, against a sometimes bloody backdrop of jazz and voodoo. The story tackles the themes of colonization, corruption, police violence, and racial identity, but above all, Queenie celebrates the genius of a woman forgotten by history.