The original Black Hitler was Sufi Abdul Hamid, the original Al Sharpton.
In his stepladder speeches, he declared himself the only man who could stop the Jews, accusing them of spreading filth and disease, and called on his followers to tear out the tongue of any Jew they met. He boasted that he was the “only one fit to carry on the war against the Jews” and vowed an “an open bloody war against the Jews who are much worse than all other whites.” It was speeches like that which earned him the title, ‘Black Hitler’ and intimidated local businesses into hiring workers from his own private labor union.
What Hamid came up with was a combination labor union, employment agency, protection racket, Islamic cult and protest movement. With black unemployment in Harlem running as high as 50 percent, he offered to find jobs for black men who paid him a dollar. And to make sure they got hired, his men picketed businesses demanding that they get put on the payroll. Businesses which didn’t have a proper proportion of black employees were accused of racism and exploitation. Businesses which did were harassed anyway until they fired their black employees and hired Hamid’s men instead.
Sherman Gamble, the self-proclaimed new Black Hitler, doesn’t seem nearly as ambitious as Sufi Abdul Hamid.
Sherman Gamble had the good life, operating Cut Rate Construction, his own construction company, while officially living in a public subsidized housing project… and then illegally subletting the place for $850 a month via Craigslist.
And then the government caught up to him. And then a few years later, Sherman Gamble really went crazy.
A Manhattan live-in nanny was held captive and tortured for three days in an East Side apartment by her boss — who told her he was the “black Hitler,” police sources said on Wednesday.
Gamble was arrested that night and charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, assault, strangulation, reckless endangerment and weapons possession.
A police source said Gamble choked the woman until she passed out, “beat her with a fist, pulled her hair out and beat her with a cellphone on the head.”
He also allegedly “rolled up a newspaper and shoved it down her throat, and shouted, ‘I am going to kill you. You don’t know who I am. I am the black Hitler.’ ”
“She was beat up really badly,” a police source said.
A relative of the victim said the young woman has done baby-sitting to earn money, but was unsure how long the victim had been working for Gamble or how they met.
Gamble, who owns a contracting company, Cut Rate Construction, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court early Thursday on charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, assault and strangulation. He was being held in lieu of $80,000 bail.
He has a prior arrest for allegedly assaulting one of his children in 2003 and one in 1998 for allegedly patronizing a prostitute in the Hunts Point section of The Bronx, law enforcement sources said. He has at least three other arrests that are sealed.
That’s a less glorious conclusion than the life of Sufi Abdul Hamid who died in a crash of his private plane.
His nickname migrated from the Black Hitler to the Black Mufti. He married Queenie St. Clair, who ran Harlem’s numbers racket. Their marriage however ended badly when Queenie shot him, but failed to kill him. Hamid married again and bought a private plane, an obscene luxury at a time when many of those he claimed to help didn’t have enough to eat. But Hamid frugally kept it low on gas. The plane ran out of fuel over Long Island and crashed. Hamid died, survived by his white secretary who suffered only a broken elbow.
His new wife, a candle shop owner and fortune teller named Dorothy Hamid, who styled herself Madame Fu Futtam, and improbably claimed to be Asian, attempted to keep Hamid’s mosque going with visits that he reportedly made to her nightly from beyond the grave. Her prediction that Hamid would return from the grave in sixty days did not come true. Not long after the mosque had become a dance hall featuring a one legged dancer. Today the site at 103 Morningside Avenue is the home of St. Luke’s Baptist Church.
Hamid however is remembered as a pioneering community organizer by many black groups.