Wednesday Mar 06, 2024

The mafia killed Theodore Roe for trying to keep the Policy Racket in the African American community

Theodore Roe kept the Policy Racket in the community 'til they killed him to get it Teddy Roe was an African-American mob boss who built an illegal gambling empire in South Side, Chicago during the 1940s and 1950s. He moved to Chicago when he was 31 and got a job with a tailor on the South Side. His employer, Edward Jones, got into the numbers racket or policy game (the early lottery) and Teddy became one his main runners. By 1946 they were bring in $25 million a year and the local Mafia wanted a piece of the action. The Jones brothers said no, so the mob kidnapped Jones, Teddy paid the $100,000 ransom and the Jones brothers promised to get out of the numbers game and relocated to Mexico. Not Teddy! He chose to take over the Jones operation. Roe earned the nickname "Robinhood" because of his philanthropy among the neighborhood poor. In their heyday, policy kings were the black community's banks and employers in Chicago. In the early part of the 20th century, segregation and economic discrimination had a devastating effect on African American communities throughout the United States, and in Chicago and some of the other major cities in the north, the policy industry generated a lot of money to poor black neighborhoods. Policy kings put a lot of their earnings into legitimate businesses such as car dealerships and churches. Aside from running a smooth operation, Roe is remembered for paying hospital bills for newborns, and funeral tabs for the deceased. On one occasion, an elderly woman who had hit the number with one of the shady gangster wheels in town, came to Roe to complain that the gang had not paid her her money for the hit. Roe and some of his boys went over to the men and persuaded them to give her her winnings. He has also been known to walk the streets of poor black neighborhoods passing out fifty dollar bills to needy people. After refusing to pay "street tax" or hand over his illegal gambling empire to the Chicago Outfit, Roe fatally shot a made man who had been ordered to assassinate him. Even though the killing was ruled self defense, Roe was murdered in retaliation by the Sicilian-American Outfit crew commanded by caporegime Sam Giancana on August 4, 1952.



00:00 – Intro

05:02 – Theodore’s childhood

08:41 – Teddy’s life of crime begins with Prohibition

10:11 – On to the big D

15:36 – Edward P Jones and Chicago

21:05 – A policy business is born

25:59 – Policy games in African American communities

31:24 – Italians v African Americans for control of the Policy

58:11 – The downfall of Chicago’s African American owned policy racket



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