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1968–1974: Social Movements, Social Systems and the Black Mafia

Part of the Studies of Organized Crime book series (SOOC, volume 2)

Keywords

Police Officer Social Movement Organize Crime Black Panther Party Congressional District 
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References

  1. 1.
    The percentages of the African-American population residing in urban areas were the following: 1940 — less than 50%; 1950 — 62%; 1960 — 73%; and 1965 — 80%. John P. Crank, “Crime and Justice in the Context of resource Scarcity,” Crime, Law and Social Change, forthcoming 2003. According to Crank, the estimates for the number of African-Americans out-migrating from the South by time period were 1930–1940: 348,000; 1940–1960: 3,054,000; 1960–1970: 613,000.Google Scholar
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    Ibid. In 1972, Philadelphia registered 413 homicides. 342 of these were African-Americans, and of these victims, 81.4% of their murderers were black. 54.5% of the city’s 5,294 robbery victims in 1972 were African-American.Google Scholar
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    Ibid. Also see Jerome H. Skolnick and James J. Fyfe, Above the Law: Police and the Excessive Use of Force (New York: Free Press, 1993).Google Scholar
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    Rizzo was again the Republican nominee for Mayor (against Democrat Ed Rendell) before dying of a heart attack on July 16, 1991. His 1991 campaign was similar to those he had run before, focusing largely on crime-related issues. In particular, he focused on the crack cocaine dilemma in minority sections of the city. Ironically, much of his support in the’ 91 campaign came from his former detractors. For instance, the Reverend Eugene Graves helped organize “North Philadelphia Against Rizzo” in 1971 and 1975, and yet hosted Rizzo’s last political meeting in 1991 because the “black community was in disarray” and Frank Rizzo was someone “we couldtrust.” Paolantonio, p. 369.Google Scholar
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    Robert N.C. (Nelson Cornelius) Nix Sr. began his career as a lawyer in 1925, and gained a reputation as an excellent criminal attorney. He first became active in Democratic politics in1932. Nix was first elected to represent Philadelphia’s 4th Congressional District (then-North Philadelphia) in May of 1958, becoming Pennsylvania’s first African-American Congressman. Nix defeated Cecil Moore handily to secure the seat. At the time, there were three other African-Americans in Congress — William L. Dawson, Illinois; Charles C. Diggs Jr., Michigan; and Adam Clayton Powell Jr., New York. Diggs, Powell and Nix later successfully thwarted a Congressional probe into the Nation of Islam in 1962. Among other actions Nix wrote aletter in support of the Nation. The letter stated Elijah Muhammad’s teachings on liberty and freedom “were consistent with statements by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and other founders of this republic.” Quoted in Karl Evanzz, The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad (New York: Pantheon Books, 1999), pp. 251–253. Nix served in Congress from 1958 to 1978, when he lost his congressional seat to William H. Gray 3d, despite campaigning extensively with Muhammad Ali. Moore and Nix started out as adversaries in the early 1960s, but later joined forces in the late 1960s/early 1970s. In 1985, the federal courthouse at Ninth and Chestnut Streets was named in Nix’s honor. He remained active in local politics until his death in June of 1987. See Michael E. Ruane and Edward Colimore, “Ex-Rep. Robert N.C. Nix Dies at 88,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 23, 1987, p. A01; Tyree Johnson, “Ex-Rep.Nix, ‘Pathfinder,’ Dead at 88: He Pavedthe Way for Black Politicians,” Philadelphia Daily News, June 23, 1987, p.4; and Claude Lewis, “Got Things Done: Nix Was Always Open to His Constituents,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 24, 1987, p. A15.Google Scholar
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    One of the cases Branche and Lacy worked was the June 5, 1972 Altemose — Philadelphia Area Building and Construction Trades and Council “dispute”. Leon Altemose, a non-union builder, was constructing a large project involving a Sheraton Hotel just outside of Philadelphia. Over 1,000 union men, led by Roofers Union Local 30 president John McCullough and Council president Thomas McGrann, picketed the site. The protest turned quickly to vandalism, and before long the pieces of the partially developed hotel were damaged and many pieces of construction equipment were set on fire. McCullough contacted Simone to defend 23 union members charged in the incident, and Simone enlisted two other high-profile defense attorneys as co-counsel, Cecil B. Moore and Charles Peruto, Sr. Branche and Lacy served as investigators for the defense team. Ibid., pp. 63–65.Google Scholar
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