CHAPTER FOUR

The Kingpins’ Kids

 As a kid, Courtney Brown Jr. counted cash with his dad, but it was years before he realized that his father earned a living in the heroin trade.  Courtesy of Courtney Brown Jr..

As a kid, Courtney Brown Jr. counted cash with his dad, but it was years before he realized that his father earned a living in the heroin trade. Courtesy of Courtney Brown Jr..

When a hungry young DEA agent arrives in Detroit, he picks the perfect case to make his bones: taking down Eddie Jackson and Courtney Brown’s sprawling heroin organization. But if the drug kingpins fall, what will happen to their kids? As the feds close in, Eddie Jr. and Courtney Jr. must face the possibility of growing up without their fathers.

LISTEN TO CHAPTER FOUR


GROWING UP IN SOUTHFIELD

 Courtney Brown Jr. was thrilled when his family moved to Southfield, a wealthy suburb of Detroit. He became accustomed to fancy clothes, good schools, and afternoons spent biking around the neighborhood with his best friend, Eddie Jackson Jr., who lived next door.  Courtesy of Courtney Brown Jr.

Courtney Brown Jr. was thrilled when his family moved to Southfield, a wealthy suburb of Detroit. He became accustomed to fancy clothes, good schools, and afternoons spent biking around the neighborhood with his best friend, Eddie Jackson Jr., who lived next door. Courtesy of Courtney Brown Jr.

This is going to be fun. ‘Cause it was truly like people lived on television.
— Courtney Brown Jr.

Inside Eddie Jackson’s house in Southfield, the lavish interior design styles of the 1970s were on full display. Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.

Eddie Jackson’s front door featured extravagant detailing, as well as multiple locks. Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.


NIGHTS OUT ON THE TOWN

Eddie Jackson, Courtney Brown, and their associates wore flashy outfits and surrounded themselves with women. Eddie’s fast living and wandering eye caught up with him eventually, when his girlfriend was caught transporting heroin in a New York City airport. Courtesy of Courtney Brown Jr.

Eddie’s entourage looked like they were refugees from Louis XIV’s court at Versailles.
— DEA AGENT RON GARIBOTTO
 DEA agent Ron Garibotto surveilled Eddie Jackson both at home in Southfield and during Jackson’s nights out on the town. Eventually, Garibotto oversaw a larger surveillance operation that included wiretaps.  Courtesy of Ron Garibotto.

DEA agent Ron Garibotto surveilled Eddie Jackson both at home in Southfield and during Jackson’s nights out on the town. Eventually, Garibotto oversaw a larger surveillance operation that included wiretaps. Courtesy of Ron Garibotto.


FRONT PAGE NEWS

I remember throwing the paper back in the house. And it hit me when I got on the bus that everybody else gets the same newspaper.
— Courtney Brown Jr.
 When the federal indictment came down, news reporters took an interest in Eddie Jackson Sr. and Courtney Brown Sr. In this photo, Eddie and Courtney are talking with reporter Bob Bennett (left), accompanied by their lawyer (right). This interview was conducted in Eddie Jackson’s living room, which featured a custom painting of black people slaughtering white people.  Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.

When the federal indictment came down, news reporters took an interest in Eddie Jackson Sr. and Courtney Brown Sr. In this photo, Eddie and Courtney are talking with reporter Bob Bennett (left), accompanied by their lawyer (right). This interview was conducted in Eddie Jackson’s living room, which featured a custom painting of black people slaughtering white people. Courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.


The Wake Up Call

 Though they no longer live in Southfield, Courtney Brown Jr., Patricia Jackson, and Eddie Jackson Jr. remain close to this day.  Photo by Rob Szypko.

Though they no longer live in Southfield, Courtney Brown Jr., Patricia Jackson, and Eddie Jackson Jr. remain close to this day. Photo by Rob Szypko.

It’s time to grow up for real for real.
— COURTNEY BROWN Jr.
 When Eddie Jackson Jr. first visited his father in prison, he felt so abandoned that he wouldn’t let his dad touch him. Here they are years later, when Eddie Sr. was serving a second term in prison.  Courtesy of Courtney Brown Jr.

When Eddie Jackson Jr. first visited his father in prison, he felt so abandoned that he wouldn’t let his dad touch him. Here they are years later, when Eddie Sr. was serving a second term in prison. Courtesy of Courtney Brown Jr.


EPISODE CREDITS

Crimetown is Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier. This season is made in partnership with Gimlet Media and Spotify. It’s produced by Rob Szypko, John White, Soraya Shockley, and Samantha Lee. The senior producer is Drew Nelles. Editing by Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier. Fact-checking by Jennifer Blackman. This episode was mixed, sound designed, and scored by Kenny Kusiak. Original music this season composed by Homer Steinweiss. We recorded some original music at Rustbelt Studios in Detroit in partnership with Detroit Sound Conservancy. Special thanks to Carleton Gholz and Maurice “Pirahnahead” Herd. Additional music by John Kusiak and Melvin Davis, and additional mixing by Bobby Lord. Our theme song is “Politicians In My Eyes” by Death. Archival research by Brennan Rees. Archival footage courtesy of the Walter P. Reuther Library at Wayne State University.

Show art and design by James Cabrera and Elise Harven. We’ve got a great website with bonus content for each episode like photos, videos, and newspaper clippings, as well as a full list of credits and a transcript. Check it out at crimetownshow.com. Courtney Brown Jr. made a documentary and wrote a book about his dad and Eddie Jackson. They’re both called “Motown Mafia” and you can find them on Amazon. Thanks to the late Bob Bennett, the Detroit Free Press, Peter Bhatia, Jim Schaeffer, Mary Schroeder, Mary Wallace, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, Melissa Samson, the Detroit Historical Society, Vince Wade, Scott Burnstein, Lewis Stevens, and everyone who shared their stories with us. Detroit is an amazing place, and we’re honored to tell a small part of its story.