Charles Cosby's Origins

Brookfield Village in the early 40s was acres of orange trees. When World War II kicked off, Southern blacks migrated to the Bay Area. They were the war workers, making munitions. Single family homes replaced the orange groves. My mom, Irma Jean Garcia, came to Cali from Texas in 1953. My mother's father was from Mexico, and her mom was Cherokee Indian. My father happened to be in the Navy and he had some off-time in Fresno. That's how him and my mom met. My parents moved to Brookfield in 1968 from Fresno, California.

Felix was the top dog during his tenure. Didn't nothing move in Oakland without his approval—he was the drug dealer's drug dealer, the first one on the west coast to have a Rolls Royce. When he was removed from the equation in 1983 on tax evasion, a new game was ushered in…crack.

My friend Banana got me into the game in 1983. I watched him from the sidelines, saw what he was able to do selling crack, so I stepped to him like "I wanna be down.” Banana said crack was gonna be the new heroin; we were gonna make as much money as Felix Mitchell did. Brookfield Village, you're talking about 5,000 homes. That was big enough to feed everybody. The people we were selling to, we grew up knowing them, knowing their kids. We were young, doing what we thought was correct. We didn't know it was wrong, selling crack to our friend's mothers.

At the beginning was friendly competition, we was knew to this crack shit, just chasing money. We went from riding Mongoose bikes and skateboards to making $5000-$7000 a week, buying cars and fuckin' bitches. We was learning as we went along. We didn't have nobody to teach us the ropes. There wasn't no blueprint to execute. Niggas 18, 19 years old making $100,000 a day selling crack? Felix Mitchell's biggest day was $25,000.

When cats realized how much money could be made, people's attitudes changed. "If I take this nigga's block, I can double my money.” After Banana was killed, I realized how serious the game was, that taught me to stay in the shadows. Violence and drug dealing go hand in hand, that's just a fact. Fortunately, I was respected to where I didn't have to get at anybody on that level. The bully like the nigga Suge Knight got bullets with their name on ‘em. Ain't no place in society for a bully, no place at all.

I wasn't like them other guys, ordering shootings and firebombings every other day. That shit was limited in how I did my business. Who am I to take somebody's child from them? But then and now, I had niggas around me that would do anything for me, period.

I surrounded myself with the group of guys I grew up with. The trust factor was there. We had our infrastructure within Brookfield. We were together but our money interests was separate, there was no collective money pot of profits. As long as we remained in Brookfield, everything was kosher. As guys began to venture out to 69th Ave, 73rd Ave, 85th Ave, they were meeting unfortunate circumstances—shot, stabbed, robbed, killed, being in and out of jail. I learned from their mistakes. If somebody fumbled the ball, I knew not to go down that path.

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