By Clarence Walker
"Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob" - Oscar Wilde.
As people our life's value lies in our contribution to a greater good by taking a stand to become part of something on this earth much greater than ourselves. With passion, taking risks, we as people can help make the world a better place for those in pursuit of equal opportunities, happiness and freedom of expression to enjoy life to its fullest. Which brings to mind the rebels in our society like the mafia. The mob's dark underworld conjures up murder, brutality, assassins, and all sorts of evil deeds these men carry out.
But if the mafia's money was the root of all their evil deeds, apparently there's good within the evilness of the blood money they made. According to Thaddeus Russell's newly released book: A Renegade History of the United States: 7 Ways the Mafia made the United States a Better Place; and according to the explicit contents of the book, had it not been for the mafia the American society might have been a much different place to live in.
Russell writes in his book, "Imagine America with no racial integration or freedom to be gay in public. In my book, I show that all you have to do is imagine American history without organized crime." In its truest form Russell's splendid written book tells great stories of the unsung heroes who were big-time gangsters while simultaneously illuminating historical struggles between social control, racism, a grab for power to monopolize the money flow into mainstream economy. Money was an equalizer against everything wrong in America.
Based on this journalist’s study of "A Renegade History of the United States" it takes its reader into America's past all the way into the "belly of the beast" showing how the downtrodden, immoral citizens using illegal mob money, rose from ashes to accomplish more for civil rights and personal freedom than anyone could imagine.
In Russell's book the following stories shows how gangsters made America a better place:
New Orleans Louisiana
Had it not been for the mob, Louis Armstrong, the legendary Jazz singer may have never got the break to make history of becoming a world renowned singer of classical and jazz music.
During the 1900s, hundreds of Sicilian mafiosi controlled the New Orleans economy, particularly the brothels, saloons and the popular speakeasies that defined New Orleans as the pleasure of the south. When respectable Americans ridiculed the music called "Jass" as black and criminal jungle music--many others were receptive to pay cash money to hear and dance to this form of music.
New Orleans Sicilian Henry Matranga, head of the Matranga family exploited the opportunity by opening up buildings in the Storyville district near the French Quarter. In the Storyville district in 1917 is where teenager Louis Armstrong earned his first pay for playing the trumpet to huge crowds in brothels owned by the Sicilian-Matranga mob family.
In Chicago and New York, the book detail how the Italian and Jewish gangsters owned numerous jazz clubs---one notable gangster was Al Capone. Mob-owned clubs on State street in Chicago frequently used musicians like Armstrong, King Oliver, Fletcher Henderson and Benny Goodman who turned jazz into a national phenomenon.
According to scholar Jerome Charyn, "There would have been no "Jazz Age" and very little jazz, without the white gangsters taking black and white jazz musicians under their wing."
Organized crime is the credited source for making prohibition the most unsuccessful moral reform movement in American history. When U.S. government passed the Eighteenth Amendment law, Italian and Jewish Organized crime syndicates transported liquor throughout Pacific Coast, Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico. During prohibition organized crime made millions selling liquor in thousands of speakeasies, saloons and sex brothels.
Unable to control human nature thirst for mind-altering alcohol the government finally legalized the beverages but not without getting in on the action to make money off the liquor sales tax.
Broadway New York
Arnold "The Brain" Rothstein became filthy rich investing in speakeasies, underground casinos and horse tracks. He is world known as the man who fixed the 1919 World's Baseball Series. Rothstein financed the opening of several historical businesses including the famous Selwyn Theater on 42nd street that attracted millions of patrons to Broadway. With popularity at an all-time high, Broadway became the first entertainment capital in America.
Las Vegas Strip
There's no argument when people call Las Vegas the most visited tourist destination in the United States. Russell's book explains that Las Vegas would be just another street in the desert were it not for gangsters. In the 1930s Meyer Lansky, leader of a Jewish crime organization known as the Syndicate, Lansky controlled majority of gambling operations in the Western hemisphere. He owned top-notch casinos in Miami, Saratoga Springs, New York and Havana Cuba.
Around 1945, Lansky built the Flamingo hotel and casino. Eventually he gave the operation to Bugsy Siegel, a rising star in Lansky's syndicate who ran the mob's operations in Los Angeles. With Flamingo's smashing success the strip was flooded with mob-owned hotel-casinos thus making Las Vegas a worldwide attraction. Organized crime in Las Vegas is so popular a mob museum was built two years ago to showcase mob history.
When Thomas Edison invented the motion picture camera and projector he created the Motion Picture Patents Company called the 'Trust' to make movies based on Christian American values. But on the Lower East Side, Jewish entrepreneurs used Edison's invention to make their own films which were shown in thousands of five-cent Nickelodian movie theaters across the United States.
The Jewish outlaw filmmakers made movies with violent, sexy content, far more entertaining than Edison's wholesome, purified movies. Furious over the rip-off, Edison, with help from police acting on a city ordinance in Chicago, ordering the Jewish theaters closed down, fire and bloodshed followed.
A goon squad hired by Edison beat up directors, actors, forcing movie-goers out of theaters and set fires to city blocks where the so-called immoral movies were playing. Apparently Edison underestimated his competition. Gangsters "Big" Jack Zelig, "Lefty Louie" Rosenberg, "Gyp the Blood" Horowitz, and leaders of the notorious Yiddish Black hand stepped in to eliminate Edison and the city enforcement attempt to prevent their people from running movie theaters.
The war continued. Gangsters stole expensive film equipment out of Edison's warehouses in the Bronx, Philadelphia and Chicago and then ignited a fire that grew into a raging inferno that destroyed the properties.
By 1915 the Edison 'Trust' group disbanded and the Jewish outlaw filmmakers moved west, where they made bigger and better movies. The outlaws, with the help of their nicknamed friends, were assisted by another group of Jewish gangsters that helped them to dismantle Thomas Edison and the city laws of Chicago and won.
Who were these mighty men? Do these names ring a bell in today's motion picture industry? Here they are:
(1) Marcus Loews of Loews Theatres and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(2) Carl Laemmle of Universal Pictures
(3) Adolph Zukor of Paramount Pictures
(4) William Fox of Twentieth-Century Fox
(5) The Warner brothers, Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack.
Slavery, Racism, Interracial Sex, and the Mafia
During mid-19th century, concert saloons gained popularity in U.S. cities. These breezy places with swinging doors offered liquor, music, lewd dancing, and sex for sale. High on the list was sex between blacks and whites. Several salons in larger northern cities was owned by crime syndicates, blacks with mob front money, Italian and Jewish immigrants affiliated with the mob.
Even during Jim Crow segregated laws when the lynching of blacks was a weekly event, thousands of black men had sex with white women in brothels. It is reasonable to conclude that organized crime fronted these places with 'dirty' money.
The mixing of races in dance halls owned by Jewish and Italian crime syndicates was so prevalent the Ku Klux Klan waged fierce opposition to close these lurid places down. If owners failed to comply with local government regulations the KKK burned down the establishment. But nothing stopped progress to make a buck through mixing races. Organized crime re-grouped and started over again.
Although underreported by mainstream media but gangsters were instrumental in fostering and protecting the gay subculture during World War Two and the 1950s. Vito Genovese and Carlo Gambino (right), head of the largest and powerful New York crime families invested in gay bars during the early 1930s.
Most New York gay bars was owned by the mob. One place called The Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village had been a non-gay business for many years until members of the Genovese family purchased the spot and converted it into a gay bar.
The Stonewall manager, Ed "The Skull" Murphy was a homosexual and ex-convict.
Protected from police harassment and potential assaults, white gay customers preference for sex with blacks and latinos gave the Stonewall a reputation as the most racially diverse clubs---gay or straight---in New York city.
Russell's book reveals a little known piece of compelling history about America's gay revolution. "The famous raid on the Stonewall in 1969 that gave rise to the Gay Liberation movement was a federal sting operation directed at the mob."
Over the next decade, Ed Murphy, the Stonewall gay manager, and the Genovese family funded the Gay Pride marches that became annual, international demonstrations of sexual freedom across the United States and foreign countries. Murphy rode the route every year in New York in an open-top car wearing a crown and a sash that declared him "The Mayor of Christopher Street."
America have had millions of heroes and even more unsung heroes when it comes to the mob.
Remember this important history. When the CIA (Central Intelligence of America) needed someone to kill Cuban president Fidel Castro, who did they call? You guessed it, it was the mob.
When presidential contender John F. Kennedy needed help to win the primary in West Virginia against Hubert Humprey, mafioso Sam Giancana struck a deal with Frank Sinatra for Giancana to sway mob-infested unions to vote for Kennedy. With mob influence Kennedy won the U.S. presidential election.
The late Gambino crime boss John Gotti once said, "the mob is American as 'apple pie'. And that’s no lie.
Any comments? contact journalist Clarence Walker at:firstname.lastname@example.org P.S. This Journalist wish everyone a wonderful and blessed new year for 2011.
By Clarence Walker