The Man Behind American Gangster:The Story of Frank Lucas

Essay by KcmcadamsCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2009

download word file, 11 pages 5.0

When people hear the name, Frank Lucas, it is likely that they would think of the award winning movie from 2008, “American Gangster.” This movie follows Lucas through his years as a prestigious drug lord in Harlem during the mid ‘70s. The movie starts out with Lucas and his boss, Bumpy. At the beginning of the movie, Bumpy dies of a heart attack. Frank is left alone in the middle of the Harlem heroin scene. From there, the movie gives the story of Frank’s success as a dealer and as a businessman. But what about Frank Lucas before he was a famous drug dealer? How did he get to where he was and where is Frank Lucas now? This paper will share with you Frank Lucas, behind the silver screen. It will research what the film didn’t show, and find anything which may be misleading about the film itself.

Frank Lucas was born September 9, 1930 in La Grange, North Carolina.

Shortly after his birth, Lucas and his family moved to Greensboro, North Carolina. His family was quite large; Frank had many brothers and sisters. They were not very wealthy to say the least. They also saw many hard times as a Black family in the South, Frank recalls when he was six, the Ku Klux Klan coming to his home. They shot and killed his 13 year old cousin Obadiah for “eyeballing” a white girl who lived up the road. Frank said that, “They Stuck a Shotgun in his mouth and Blew his Brains out.” (Meadows p.3)Frank claims that this is what brought him to his life of crime. He began mugging and stealing to provide for his family. “I was the oldest, someone had to put food on the table. I started stealing chickens, knocking pigs on their...