There are many vacant lots in Chicago's East Garfield Park neighborhood, including one that takes nearly two-thirds of the 2700 block of West Madison Street. That empty space was the home of Fohrman Motors, where in 1966 Ed and Sid Fohrman, along with a sales manager, were shot to death by a disgruntled customer described by the Chicago Tribune years later as "a crazed ex-convict on barbiturates."
West of the lot is the office of US Rep. Danny K. Davis (IL-7th), a congressman of little distinction who is best know for his role in the "coronation ceremony" at the US Capitol of the Reverend Sun Myung in 2005, where he declared himself the messiah, as well as his trip to Sri Lanka a year later--which was funded by the Tamil Tigers terror organization.
Forhman Motors was founded by Benjamin Fohrman, who was viewed as an innovative and pioneering car dealer. Ed and Sid were his sons. Older relatives of mine tell me that Forhman's folksy television ads were common fare on local television, which made the triple murder more shocking. People who never stepped foot into the dealership felt a kinship with the Fohrman brothers.
Donald Dean Jackson, the killer, purchased a car from the dealership but subsequently crashed it. An insurance policy bought at the time Jackson bought his car would have covered most of the damages but the killer wanted a replacement and came to Fohrman to "shoot the bosses." The murderer died in a shootout with police shortly afterwards.
After the killings rumors were spread that Forhman Motors charged a usurious 51 percent loan to Jackson; he was given a fair rate for a used car at the time of 15 percent. As the Forhmans were Jewish there was an anti-Semitic bitterness to the gossip. Ebony, on the other hand took a somewhat more sympathetic view to the murderer in an article published shortly after the crimes titled "The Pitfalls of Credit Buying."
On the west side of Davis' office is a mural or Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, also known as "Chairman Fred." Three years after the Fohrman murders Hampton and fellow BPP member were gunned down in am early morning raid by Cook County Sheriff's Department police officers at the direction of State's Attorney Edward Hanrahan. Ninety-nine shots were fired by the cops--just one, and maybe not even one, came from inside the apartment. The police were looking for a stockpile of illegal weapons. Hanrahan and 13 other law enforcement officials were indicted for obstructing justice but were acquitted. In 1972 many blacks abandoned Democrat Hanrahan and voted for his Republican opponent, Bernard Carey. Hanrahan was defeated and his political career was effectively over, he was once seen as a possible successor to Mayor Richard J. Daley.
Four months before his death, Hampton told the Chicago Sun-Times, "I am at war with the pigs." That November on the South Side two Chicago police officers and a Black Panther member were killed in a shootout.
The Panthers sought to forge alliances with street gangs and they were Marxists, the latter could explain the Hampton mural outside Davis' office. Congressman Davis is a former member of the socialist New Party, which also backed Barack Obama early in his career.
History isn't that hard to find--you just have to know where to look.
(Photos) Abandoned homes in Chicago's violent East Garfield Park neighborhood