For the first time ever, author Ron Chepesiuk chronicles the little-known history of organized crime in Harlem.
For the first time ever, author Ron Chepesiuk chronicles the little-known history of organized crime in Harlem. African-American organized crime has had as significant an impact on its constituent community as Italian, Jewish, and Irish organized crime has had on theirs. Harlem’s gangsters are every bit as colorful, intriguing, and powerful as Al Capone and Lucky Luciano and have a fascinating history in gambling, prostitution, and drug dealing. In the late 1800s, Harlem was a highly fashionable neighborhood. A real-estate collapse shortly after the turn of the century emptied its neighborhoods of white residents, and by the 1930s, two-thirds of New York City’s African-Americans were living in Harlem. The numbers game (Bolito) and drugs became the key factors in the development of organized crime in Harlem. Heroin dealing increased significantly for Harlem gangsters after the French Connection’s fall in the early 1970s, paving the way for the No Fear Gang, the Family, and the Nine Trey Gang to arrive on the scene in the 1980s. In this riveting, vivid account, Chepesiuk tells the largely unknown story of organized crime in Harlem through in-depth profiles of the major gangs and motley gangsters whose exploits made them legends.