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“New York Undercover” at the Tenement Museum

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9780226266091 Tonight at the Tenement Museum — an interesting look at the origins of the "modern surveillance state." Author Jennifer Fronc discusses her book, "New York Undercover: Private Surveillance in the Progressive Era." It was relatively common, it turns out, for "social activists" to send private investigators into gambling parlors, brothels, and meetings of criminal gangs and radical political organizations. These amateur sleuths – often journalists or social workers – were employed by organizations like the National Civic Federation and the Committee of Fourteen. The groups used the information gathered to "combat behavior they viewed as sexually promiscuous, politically
undesirable, or downright criminal." In Fronc's book, she demonstrates how the strategy enabled the government to strengthen "a federal state that grew increasingly repressive in the interest of pursuing a national security agenda."  Tonight at 630pm – more information on the Tenement Museum's web site.

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