In the 1930s and '40s, there was a National Brotherhood of
Policy Kings that permeated practically every Black community in the country but
especially Chicago, the "Policy Capital of the World," home of the 5th Police
District, Wabash Station, and the 28th Municipal Circuit Courthouse, commonly
known as Wabash Court.
In the world of Policy, its Kings were the original "Good Fellows", not because they were gangsters, which they were not, but because they fed the hungry and clothed the naked as virtual "Robin Hoods" and gave their people a sense of security. In the 1920s, when Robert Abbott founded the "Chicago Defender Good Fellows Club" to feed the needy, many of its members were Policy men. Policy also played an important role in the professional sector as well. Policy Kings underwrote the establishment of several private dental and medical practices for professionals facing lack of placement options due to racial discrimination.
Chicago was special in those days because it was a wide-open town where anything went, and everybody who wanted a piece of the action got it, so long as that person supported the right political agenda. That, however, wasn't a problem for the Policy Kings because they controlled the Black vote, a vote that was growing stronger every day since Robert Abbott launched the Great Northern Drive in 1917, known today as the Great Black Migration. It caused hundreds of thousands of sharecrop-era Blacks to leave the South bound for Chicago and other parts north, and every arrival represented another vote in a changing political climate. With the Kings in control of that vote, Policy became the biggest political football in town. Ruthless political-battles-of-the-parties were fought over the Black vote, resulting indirectly in one Chicago mayor's murder. It was the last days of the Prohibition era and the last days of the underworld's principle source of income, bootlegged liquor. To make up for part of that lost income, White underworld bosses across the country launched bloody gun battles against the Policy Kings for control of the lucrative gambling rackets in America's Black Belts.
In Harlem the enemy was Dutch Schultz, in Cleveland the Mayfield Road Gang, in St. Louis it was Egan's Rats and in Bronzeville it was renegade factions of the Al Capone mob. Harlem and Cleveland both knuckled under early, but in Bronzeville the Policy Kings organized, fought back, and kept their rackets. Word spread fast that "Bronzeville's Policy Kings didn't take shit from anybody," as many still recall, and thus earned this Black metropolis its reputation as the "safe haven." As such, Bronzeville grew strong and remained the only African American Policy stronghold until the 1950s when the Mafia took over. Years later the state government took it from the Mafia and the Illinois State Lottery was born. Until that time, it was the same old story that it had been since the Anti Policy Act of 1905: Police, Politics and Policy.