50 pages 1 hour read

Colson Whitehead

Harlem Shuffle

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2021

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Part 2, Chapters 1-4Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2: “Dorvay | 1961”

Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary

Two years after the robbery at the Hotel Theresa, Ray pays regular bribes to the aforementioned Detective Munson and Chink Montague’s hired goons, Delroy and Yea Big. Ray calculates these expensive bribes as “the price of doing business” (101). Ray’s friend Terrance Pierce, an African American civil rights lawyer, invites Ray to join the Dumas Club, an African American men’s social club. Ray believes that he is too working class and too dark-skinned to join the Dumas Club, as the organization is traditionally reserved for people like his father-in-law. Pierce assures Ray that the club is changing.

Ray attends the Dumas Club mixer, where potential new recruits meet existing members. The members include some of the most influential African American men in the city, all with the club’s signature ring on their pinky finger. After a round of speeches, Ray talks to the powerful Wilfred Duke. They chat about business and politics; Ray has the feeling that Duke is assessing him. Ray says that his business is growing, that his two children—May and John—are well, and that he welcomes new challenges. Behind the pleasantries, Ray suspects that Duke is requesting a $500 bribe to secure entry to the club.

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