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Bullets in the Fire-The Saga of New York Red


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A liberated young woman, New York Red (Erma Louise Hill,) comes of age during the depression under difficult family circumstances in rural South Georgia. She finds the courage, wisdom and independence to make her own rules. She lives by them and is willing to die by them. She is raised by strong, hard-working Black women who are forced to live by racist white male rules. She refuses, she sells moonshine in the family’s Road House in Plains, Georgia, dodges Federal Revenuers, fights off white rapist and escapes within an inch of her life. She flees to Atlanta, Georgia where she lives a life of personal fulfillment, sexual freedom and excitement. She is slowed down by the birth of her first son. Realizing she has to care for more than herself, she starts to develop a more conventional lifestyle. But she finds she has developed a major flaw, she loves married men. This flaw leads to two additional, out of wedlock, children and abandonment by her lovers. Her independence and spirit are now almost broken and she turns to playing numbers; an activity that is close to her training and love. She starts playing numbers and realizes she is good at it. The local Number Banker (Steve) quickly recognizes her skill and asks her to start writing numbers for him. She quickly becomes one of his more accomplished employees. Now known as “New York Red,” she makes a name for herself as one of Harlem’s most celebrated number writers. Steve promotes her to his controller, where she manages his entire number banking enterprise including paying off Mafia Crime Bosses, lawyers, bribing Judges judges  and police. Steve introduces her to his partner Fat Tony, the boss of the Genovese crime family, also known as “The 116th Street Crew.” They are the most vicious Mafia family in New York City and the country. A riff develops between Steve (her boss) and Fat Tony and the Mafia kills him over a failed drug transaction. His murder leaves her devastated, because Steve promised her he would not get involved in any illegal drug activities. Steve leaves his Number Business to her. Without Fat Tony’s approval, she takes control of Steve’s Number Business and his old territory. The Mafia disapproves, refusing to do business with her; a strong Black woman. She is killed by the Mafia, but she fulfills her dreams thru through her children.  She made sure her children were well clothed, well feed, well housed and well educated and prepared for their future success. “Do as I say do, not as I do. I am throwing bricks at the jail house so you won’t have too.” 

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