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Powerful Negro Politician Brutally Murdered

Feb. 28, 1963 - Alderman Benjamin F. Lewis, one of the most powerful Negro politicians in Chicago, was discovered brutally murdered in his office this morning. He was found handcuffed to his desk with cigarette burns on his skin, and he had been shot three times in the back of the head. The Democratic organization stalwart had been overwhelmingly reelected on Tuesday. His body was found by a janitor. The handcuffs were not the type usually used by the police, authorities said, but neither were they toys. Mr. Lewis’s wife, Ella, said she had last heard from her husband at 5 p.m. yesterday, when he telephoned that he was going to the Morrison Hotel to meet friends. Chicago’s Democratic party headquarters are at the hotel. The police refused to speculate on a motive for the murder. Mr. Lewis was a protégé of Representative William L. Dawson, Illinois Democrat, who is Chicago’s most powerful Negro politician. Mr. Lewis had been in politics nearly 30 years, much of the time as the Democratic ward organization’s first Negro precinct captain. He attended Crane Junior College in Chicago and served as a second lieutenant in the Army during World War II.


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