KING OF KINGS: Chasing Edward Jones Review

Growing up in the North side of Chicago I knew about Al Capone. A few blocks away from the apartment I grew up in was the infamous Green Mill Lounge where Capone had his own booth that faced both entrances. There were stories about an underground tunnel that led from the Mill to another establishment across the street. There were plenty of movies about Capone and it seemed like he was the one person that put Chicago on the map for his activities. Little did I know that at the same time that Capone was around there was Edward Jones. Unlike Capone, Jones was not a gangster. Jones had a different type of power to make the government of Chicago fear him and attempt to take him down.

The story of Edward Jones is one that I have never heard of. I guess since I grew up in the North side of Chicago it was a story that was not shared in my area. The documentary is a fascinating look at a family man that would do what is best for his family and in doing so raised up his community. Jones made Bronzeville the mecca for African Americans and the booming neighborhood raised some eyebrows among those in power.

Edward Jones and his brothers were running Policy, what some people call the numbers game, in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. Policy was the one thing that many people in the neighborhood played because they knew if they win their lives would change. Their Policy wheel became the biggest in the country and became a multi-million dollar enterprise. While this was not an ideal business to be in, the money that came from it helped the local schools, helped build businesses in the area and helped build the reputation of Edward Jones.

Jones and his brothers were know as The Policy Kings. They were so influential that Al Capone had an alliance with them and did not interfere with their Policy business. The local government also knew that Jones’ influence in the community could help them in local elections. As long as the government left Jones alone he would get the people in his community to vote for the Democratic candidate. Jones’ influence got to a point where it started worrying people and his family started being targeted. Due to this he took his family to France and returned back to Chicago once the war started.

The story of Edward Jones is a fascinating one and this documentary is one that needs to be watched by the residents of Chicago. While many people in Chicago know about Al Capone, Edward Jones is a man that more people need to know. The contributions he has made to Chicago are still felt to this day and Chicago would be a completely different city if he never moved here.

King of Kings: Chasing Edward Jones is part of the Black Perspective, City & State, Documentary, & Women in Cinema Programs. Catch the World Premiere of this documentary during the festival.

Final Thoughts: King of Kings: Chasing Edward Jones is a great look at a different side of Chicago that might not be known by many. We learn about a man who defied the odds and made a name for himself and his community. Jones gave back to his community and by doing so he became a target for those that wanted to control the city. King of Kings: Chasing Edward Jones should be played in schools so more people can learn about Edward Jones. Without Jones, Chicago would not have the lottery as we know it, Jet Magazine, and the world would not know about Joe Lewis.

Kid-Friendly: The movie is a great history lesson about a side of Chicago that many people might not know about. Jones’ business model may not be ideal but it does show how one man used what he had to make a better life for himself and the community he lived in.

Violence: There are some violent acts mentioned in the documentary. Due to the movie’s animated style, we never see any of it.

King of kings_short teaser from Harriet Marin on Vimeo.

One of the most powerful Chicagoans of the 20th Century, Edward Jones built a $25 million empire as the brains and brawn behind Policy, an illegal racketeering syndicate in the 1930s and ’40s. The “Policy King” went head-to-head with Al Capone’s “Outfit” at the same time as he hobnobbed with celebrated artists including Josephine Baker, Frida Kahlo, and Duke Ellington. Using lively animated sequences and interviews with the likes of Quincy Jones and others who knew Jones’ story, filmmaker Harriet Marin Jones, the kingpin’s granddaughter, delves deep into her own extended family’s past to tell this remarkable and thrilling story of a legendary African American who rose to the heights of financial and political prominence, reclaiming his legacy as a man fighting for respect in a racist society.

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