On April 13th 1933, the " Kelley-Nash Machine" was born, Ed Kelly was sworn in as Chicago's Interim Mayor and would remain full mayor for 14 years. The Kelly-Nash Machine gave the Kings of Bronzeville's Policy industry a new deal. Promises made were kept. Ed Jones became the King of Policy Kings and the Big 12 was officially formed.
It consisted of Ed Jones, Big Jim Martin, Jim Knight, Bill Driver, Julian Black, Walter Kelley, George Jones, Mack Jones, Ily Kelly, Leon Motts, Henry Young, and Charlie Ferrill
With the new political regime in place, Ed Jones was the biggest big shot in black cook county, with deep pockets filled with cops, bailiffs, court clerks, judges, and politicians; plus an arm of influence that stretched into the White House. One of the focal points of President Roosevelt's administration was the appointment of his panel of black advisors known as the Black Cabinet. One of the members was Frank Horne, brother of Philly Policy King Teddy Horne.
During this time, it became common for Mayor Kelley to tell anyone to " ask Ed Jones first", for approval of municipal and in some cases state appointments that directly affected the Black community. Bankers, businessmen, and politicians from all walks lined up to do business with the Jones Brothers.
The Big 12 tripled its workforce ( estimated 10,000+) by hiring multitudes of commission writers, handbook, and station operators. Bookkeepers, checkers, stampers, and collectors worked for a straight salary while runners were paid bus fare allowance with a regular salary. They maintain a team of Certified Public Accountants including Arthur J. Wilson ( 2nd black CPA in U.S) Theodore A "Ted" Jones. Ted sat in all of the weekly meetings and consulted regularly on financial matters.
A by-product of the Policy business was real estate, many storefronts and apartment buildings were purchased. Territories covered by the Policy Syndicate were Evanston, North Shore, Oak Park, Peoria, Robbins and Lake County, Indiana. Their meetings was at the Douglass Bank which they received their payoffs from independent wheels that paid $250 a week plus a percentage from the protection. The headquarters for the Big 12 was the Royal Circle of Friends at the 51st & Michigan.
The next stage of expansion came into the off-track business on a big scale. The Big 12 hooked up with one James Ragen who owned the Continental Press and launched their own setups. Both the Kelly & Jones brothers hired scores of new handbook operators and installed complete betting parlors in their casinos with loud speakers, betting cages, black boards tracking races across the country and phone rooms for taking bets.
While business developed in Chicago, arrangements were made in Detroit. Ed and Big Jim bankrolled the Yellow Dog wheel under the careful directions of Detroit's Clarence Frisby, Everett "Monk" Watson , the Earl Cousins, and Julian Black set up a network with close friends the Roxborough brothers (John & Claude) who were the Policy Kings of the Motor City.
Later on the National Brotherhood of Policy Kings were formed, a national political bloc and protection for it's members. The brotherhood stretched from Los Angeles through St. Louis, Milwaukee and Nashville, but mostly in the eastern territories of Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburg, New Jersey and right into D.C. National meetings were held in Cleveland than later Hot Springs, Arkansas. These principals among the brotherhood: Casper Holstein & Bumpy Johnson in Harlem
John " Roxy" Roxborough in Detroit
Gus Greenlee in Pittsburgh
Thomas " Rooster" Hammond in St. Louis
Willie Richardson & Buster Matthews in Cleveland
Abe "Cap" Manley in Newark
Tom Wilson in Baltimore
Roger " Whitetop" Simkins in Washinton D.C
With Bronzeville having earned a reputation as " the safe haven", the Brotherhood was patterned after the Big 12 organization. A war chest was created for importing hired guns at war time and a kind of pension fund was established to help with the cost of medical and funeral expenses for its members and their families.
The Policy Kings showed an aggressive business prowess by making a big move into professional sports, especially in baseball and boxing. One of their best business venture and opportunity of a lifetime was sponsoring & support of Joe Louis.
At their peak it was estimated the syndicate earned $18,600,000 , of this sum about $350,000 is paid to their political connections annually. The Big 12 decline during the 2nd war with The Outfit and finally came down to the next leader Ted Roe, who would be killed in 1952. One of the last known Policy operators that operated during the Outfit's reign over the policy racket he managed a successful business without the mob ever finding out nor the police.
Lawrence " Larry" Wakefield owned the Owl and Speedway policy wheels for years until he died (68 years old)from a heart attack in his home at 9312 S Rhodes Ave in 1964. When the cops found his body, they discovered $700,000 in cash stuffed in shopping bags in a locked bedroom. Wakefield avoided mob interference by fronting off like he was an average poor black man. He didn't drive an expensive car, never flashed money, never associated with Policy men or society people, and never used banks. That was his success factor.
The first major Black Racketeers
Do anybody think any current black mob could drop the drug trade and focus on gambling as the main racket? By the way , Who's in Bronzeville today?
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