The Closed Doors of Justice

The Real Price of Black($) Power In 1960s America

During the turbulent, riot-torn 1960s, Winston E. Willis was once described in the local press as “an anachronism; sartorial in custom-tailored suits, elegantly well-spoken, yet simultaneously militant and exuding racial pride.” He had blown into Cleveland like a whirlwind in 1959 at the age of 19. Uniquely armed with innate business acumen, a lucky pool cue and sharply honed billiard skills, this fiercely intelligent high school drop-out made enough money on his first days in the city to begin building a small and successful business empire. Having also learned the value of land ownership and entrepreneurial autonomy from male relatives in his family in his boyhood homes in Montgomery Alabama and Detroit Michigan, the usual worldly distractions for young men of his generation held absolutely no interest for him. This young man was all about owning land, running businesses, and making money.

“Stand Up For What You Believe In — No Matter Who or What Opposes You.”

Reacting to a controversial case in which a White man had gotten away with the murder of a Black man his billboard posed the question: “When will it become a capital crime in America for a White man to kill a Black man?” This, of course, infuriated the local judiciary and sent them into a rage.

The Social Network of the Time

“By nature’s law, every man has a right to seize and retake by force his own property taken from him by another by force or fraud…”Thomas Jefferson



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Aundra Willis Carrasco

Aundra Willis Carrasco

Freelance Writer, Essayist, Blogger, Curious Social Observer. E-Mail me at: or visit