Guy Fisher was a notorious gangster in Harlem in the 1970’s who also became the first black man to own the Apollo Theater. Fisher was a part of the crime wave that ruled the streets of Harlem from 1977 to 1983. Fisher was among the crime group called “The Council” under boss Leroy “Nicky” Barnes. Incidentally, it was Barnes’ testimony that put Fisher away for life in Tuscon, Arizona.

Fisher is a south Bronx native. Fisher and his siblings were raised by a mother and absentee father in the housing projects. Their father was addicted to alcohol and gambling and often misused the family money. Fisher’s father was also physically abusive to both his mother and the children. Fisher’s lack of supervision and knack for street fighting landed him in a juvenile detention facility as a teenager and he soon dropped out of school. During this time, he was introduced to Leroy “Nicky” Barnes, the most ruthless drug kingpin on the streets of Harlem.

By the time Fisher as 25 years old, he and Barnes had collaborated as partners in Barnes’ “The Council” organization of crime bosses. Working like a corporation, Barnes and Fisher built two multi-million dollar businesses with the money they earned from heroin sales.

During a traffic stop, Fisher was arrested for trying to bribe the police with $100,000 if they wouldn’t arrest him. As a result, he served nine months in prison. While he was inside, the FBI tracked the activity of “The Council”, a fact that would help Fisher avoid conviction since he was incarcerated during the investigation.

Little Known Black History Fact: Guy Fisher, Harlem Gangster was originally published on

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