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Is Airbnb Good for the Black Middle Class?

In Harlem in the nineteen-twenties, black tenants would sometimes cram guests into their apartments, serve them food and drink, hire a musician to play boogie-woogie on the piano, and use the money they collected at the door to pay their rent for the month. In “Blues People,” published in 1963, the cultural critic Amiri Baraka describes these “rent parties” as a sort of acclimatization ritual, whereby new arrivals from the Great Migration, typically from the rural South, “improvised” their way into Northern urban society.
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