Few people know that a black female lawyer, Eunice Hunton Carter, was a vital part of the team that took down notorious New York mobster Lucky Luciano in the 1930s. Fewer still know the story of her remarkable life. The granddaughter of slaves and a graduate of Smith College, Eunice was whip-smart, ambitious and determined to rise above the expectations for black women of her day and time. Her grandson, author and law professor Stephen L. Carter (The Emperor of Ocean Park), paints a detailed portrait of his formidable Nana in the insightful biography, Invisible.
Eunice began practicing law in New York City and even ran for state office. But her career took off when she began working for Special Prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey, the future governor and presidential candidate who was determined to tackle organized crime in the city. Eunice, the only woman and the only black person on Dewey's team, provided essential information and strategy that led to Luciano's conviction. Despite her contributions, Eunice was repeatedly passed over for promotions, but she never gave up, continuing to juggle multiple roles as a lawyer, an activist, a politician and a noted Harlem hostess.
Carter's narrative reads at times like a legal thriller, as he traces the ins and outs of the case against Luciano and other high-profile cases Eunice later handled. This is not merely a courtroom account, though: it is the story of the life of a complicated woman. Meticulously researched and compelling, Invisible is at once a fascinating slice of New York legal and racial history and a thoughtful portrayal of a woman who refused to be hidden. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams