“Prostitute at window. There are 140 prostitutes in Peoria, average age about twenty-three. Local physicians estimate ninety percent have gonorrhea and seventy-five percent have syphilis. Peoria, Illinois.”
So Arthur Rothstein captioned a 1938 photo, part of the massive photography project undertaken by the Federal Security Administration and Office of War Information between 1935 and 1944.
This photograph was taken two years before Richard Pryor was born into Peoria’s red light district.