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Citizenship in America, First, Second and Third Class Defines the Balance of Justice

June 17th, 2017

Equality, the Numbers game and State Sponsored Gambling

In my early childhood I became aware of a well kept secret within the colored community.  In barbershops, beauty salons, pool halls, small bars and even in popular eateries the numbers game, policy bank, dream books meant the colored folks had a chance to play the numbers.  Numbers?   Shhh, it was done in the shadow of street life it was cultural and major business.  The game, gambling was invented by the men in the sporting life an explanation for those colored men who were number runners, distribution workers and collectors of the pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters that colored folks quietly placed their numbers.  Gambling?  Indeed, this was for the little guy living, struggling to become improved in the pecking order of life.

 It was not criminal to the many working class men and women who played their numbers.  There was even assistance of Dream books that carried hope, opportunity and a chance to win for that nickel to become a few dollars more.  The housewife spare a few coins weekly, daily to play that special number.  It would be dreams that the Dream book would explain what that dream meant and how it was a forecast if you follow instruction, insiders information and a prayer from above.  I was listening closely and watching as the barber, beautician, store clerk, the restaurant assistant manager would take that small piece of paper with a few coins or even larger wagers in the forms of dollar bills.  The numbers was a black thing.  Numbers, the cultural commerce had always been labeled as numbers operations with oppressive white police, street cops harboring nearby to make an arrest of a numbers operations.  Black folks men and women went to prison for participating this black institution.  Prison?  Indeed lives were ruined, interrupted by the sanctified justice system that make policy banks targets of political posturing of gung ho prosecutors for capturing those who participated in the business of the numbers game.  In the evolution of this black illicit commerce white organized crime invaded the black owned numbers business and took over.  Soon the numbers found the little guy nickels, dime bets on dreams seriously big funds, lucrative money deals.  Corruption exploded with white cops acting in collusion with the white mobsters to take over the numbers rackets.

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