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The Murder Chicago Didn’t Want to Solve


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The Murder Chicago Didn’t Want to Solve

In 1963, a Black politician named Ben Lewis was shot to death in Chicago. Clues suggest the murder was a professional hit. Decades later, it remains no accident authorities never solved the crime.

 

 

The man who called me, a long-retired Chicago police officer, was alternately charming and curt. He insisted he had nothing to do with the murder.

“All the things you wrote in your letter to me are not true,” he said, speaking slowly, his voice occasionally shaky. “Everything in there is a f%#%@#$ lie.”

In the letter, I had asked him about a murder I’d been examining: the unsolved killing of a prominent Black politician in Chicago. I had reason to think he knew something about it.

On Feb. 26, 1963, Ben Lewis, the first Black elected official from Chicago’s West Side, won what was set to be his second full term on the City Council. Lewis, 53, appeared to be climbing the political ladder. Newspapers were reporting talk — encouraged by the alderman himself — that his next stop would be Congress, a move that would have made him one of the highest-profile Black politicians in the country.

Two days later, Lewis was found shot to death in his ward office.:snip:

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