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Building the Black MetropolisAfrican American Entrepreneurship in Chicago$
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Robert E. Weems and Jason P. Chambers

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041426

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041426.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 19 January 2020

Jim Crow Organized Crime

Jim Crow Organized Crime

Black Chicago’s Underground Economy in the Twentieth Century

Chapter:
(p.147) Chapter 7 Jim Crow Organized Crime
Source:
Building the Black Metropolis
Author(s):

Will Cooley

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041426.003.0008

This chapter examines the historical evolution of Chicago’s African American underground economy. During the first decades of the twentieth-century games of chance associated with cards and dice were the primary source of gambling revenue in black Chicago. By the early 1930s, this facet of the underground economy had been surpassed by policy, also referred to as “the numbers game.” An important linkage between these two periods was that gambling proprietors funneled some of their profits back into the larger community. Later in the twentieth century, gang-controlled drug trafficking became the primary manifestation of black Chicago’s underground economy. Unlike the earlier period’s relatively violence-free focus on games of chance, the selling of illicit drugs by street gangs turned black Chicago into a battleground.

Keywords:   Jim Crow, Underground Economy, Games of Chance, The Numbers Game, Gang-Controlled Drug Trafficking

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