Little Known Black History Fact: Casper Holstein

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Casper Holstein earned more than $2 million from his operation. Like the top gangsters, he lived lavishly, owning two apartment buildings in Harlem, a house in Long Island, a fleet of cars and several thousand acres of land in Virginia. Beyond the material, he supported the community by financing dormitories at a few colleges, and contributing to the arts. Holstein helped to build a Baptist school in Liberia, create a museum in New York and provided hurricane relief for St. Croix.

In 1928, Casper Holstein was kidnapped by five white men for a $50,000 ransom. The rumor was that famous gangster Dutch Schultz was behind the operation, looking to take over the city’s numbers racket. Later, Holstein was arrested and served a year in prison for his illegal activity. But once released, he retired from the game and contributed to charities until his death in 1944.

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