Airing Dirty Laundry: The Rise And Fall Of Milwaukee'S Black Mafia

Airing Dirty Laundry: The Rise And Fall Of Milwaukee'S Black Mafia

  • Publish Date: 2018-05-04
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Matthew C Stelly
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When I arrived in Milwaukee in August of 1987 I came loaded for bear. I was teaching at one of the largest two year colleges in the nation, Milwaukee Area Technical College and after my only year there I won Teacher of the Year and was co-winner of Advisor of the Year. That imprint was made on the entire Milwaukee community so from there I became editor of the largest black newspaper in the city and talk show host on a popular AM station where I dominated black nationalist thought for five years. With nearly perfect recall I began to see why Milwaukee, despite its large black population, numerous nonprofits and black political representation on the Common Council, in the Wisconsin Legislature and on the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, was so bereft of awareness, so slow with progress and so easy to control by white folks who were hardly the sharpest knives in the drawer. But neither was the black leadership. Most of it was self-appointed and these are the ones that named themselves the Black Mafia, an insult to the Italian Mafia in name and purpose. The Italians are nationalists and use their power to take care of their own people, their elders and to advance the economic base of their enclaves. These black people did nearly the exact opposite and were so poor that a cash and carry strategy was the order of the day. I establish this most clearly in this book. After going into detail about ideological deficiencies, I came to the conclusion that a former alderman, who was deemed a militant by the white power brokers and the largely ignorant black population, was really nothing more than a radical integrationist. I prove this on the pages within. Controversies permeated the citys landscape as I was editor and lead writer for the newspaper, and top black talk show host on the air, long before McGee and his friend came up with the oxymoronic name for a show called Word Warriors. On my watch, I galvanized the community with dozens of SolutionFEST forums that were jam packed, the creation of the New Kemet Planning Bureau which called for separation from the city and application for the Community Development funds that the city was ripping off, and the organizer of the first-ever and only Tri City Summit, which brought together the black communities of Milwaukee, Racine and Milwaukee for a three-day conference held at the Masonic Lodge in the heart of Milwaukee. My work was being witnessed and I became a threat to the scam-happy Black Mafia. Controversies that led to extortion-oriented demands included the Usinger Sausage Scare, the rise of the De Mau Mau, Frank Crivello and McGee working to build in the black community, and housing programs like North Division Neighborhood Residents and Phoenix Redevelopment, two more groups that under-performed but were over-paid. The rest of the Black Mafia are named in the book, and the most illiterate among them had regular paychecks funned to them by Carl Gee, director of OIC, who went to prison, causing the rest of the Black Mafia to scatter like roaches. A state senator went to jail, a so-called scholar from UWM was part of the group before he cut and ran to North Carolina, and others shared in the bravado and threats that shook down foreign merchants, controlled liquor licenses and held huge events where they took up collection and were never accountable for what was collected.

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