White Powder, Black Power American Dope

Nov 28, 2020 at 5:21 PM EST
The Frank Matthews case gives us a powerful, and disturbing, glance into the economic state of Urban Black America circa 1970. Slavery had been over 100 years before large amounts of capital flowed into Black America for the first time- and it came from illegal products,- first the Numbers Racket, then drugs. Like the Italian, Irish, and Jewish, families that made their fortune during Prohibition- including the Crooked Kennedy’s- a handful of Black Gangsters and their families went from rags to riches seemingly overnight. But it was a wild and violent ride, coinciding with high tide for the Civil Rights movement. The Superfly’s and Kingpins were often at odds with Pro-Black militant movements, and often in league with corrupt white law enforcement who allowed illegal drugs to take over the economy and society of places like Harlem...as long as they got their cut. White Powder, Black Power is the story of how the illegal drug economy was the first truly large and widespread capital building tool for African Americans. All made possible by political decisions in Washington D.C. and at CIA headquarters. with more money, more murders, than even the Prohibition Gangster era- and with long-lasting consequences that haunt our urban landscapes to this day. It was the best of times it was the worst of times for black America. The levy’s of segregation had begun to break and African-Americans had more political and economic power than ever before. In 1959 nearly 60% of blacks lived in poverty. Ten years later that figure was down to 32%. But while it was white people fleeing the cities because of crime, decay, and industrial decline- the phenomenon of “White Flight” - it was black people actually suffering from the rapid growth of crime in the late 60’s. The riots across the country- from Watts to Harlem- sped up this process and left a lawless urban landscape ripe for the pickings of a new breed of criminal- the Drug Kingpin- and the corrupt white police and Italian Mafia that combined with them to form that destroyed the social fabric of so many black neighborhoods in the big cities of America.