This month I will share stories on Black History Month – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. History isn’t always pretty and sometimes we sanitize that which makes us uncomfortable. Here I will share all facets of Black History and try to focus on people not necessarily in the history books.
The Ugly – Guy Thomas Fisher
Guy Fisher was born in 1947 in the South Bronx, New York. The eldest of five children, Fisher grew up in the Patterson projects. His mother, with whom he was close, was a pediatric nurse while his father was addicted to alcohol and gambling. His father would physically abuse the family and abandoned them with Fisher was a teen.
Since his mother was working and his dad had left, Fisher took to the streets. His preference for street fighting led to him serving two years for assault at Elmyra Reformatory, Fisher then dropped out of high school and started hustling for money. He caught the eye of Nicky Barnes, a drug kingpin and soon was working for him in his underground organization. Fisher had a group of men who would distribute heroin to smaller dealers. After collecting the drug money, the group would then divide the profits. Soon Barnes and Fisher would invest in businesses together.
About a year later, Fisher was arrested for using a false driver’s license and bribing law enforcement. During the nine months he spent in jail, Barnes’ group was being watched by law enforcement. In 1977, Barnes and his men were placed on trial. Since most of the surveillance of the group happened while Fisher was in prison, he became the only member of Barnes’ group to escape sentencing.
This close call led Fisher to try to become a legitimate businessman. He bought the dilapidated Apollo Theater in Harlem. He placed the deed in his brother’s name and used local workers to restore the famous Apollo. When reopened, the theater hosted Gladys Knight and The Temptations. But the money made with heroin still called him.
Fisher continued Barnes’ operations but after Barnes learned of Fisher’s success and Fisher’s affairs with one of Barnes’ girlfriends, Barnes turned informant. In 1984, Fisher was convicted of conspiracy, drug trafficking, and murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Barnes was released into the Witness Protection Program.
Fisher is still in prison at Marion Federal Prison in Illinois but received a PhD in Sociology.
Guy Fisher. (n.d.). In Mafia Wiki. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://mafia.wikia.com/wiki/Guy_Fisher
Guy Fisher. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fisher
Guy Fisher Biography. (n.d.) Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://www.biography.com/people/guy-fisher-495246