Midget Molley: A Small Man With a Big Crown

November 7th, 2008


There was a time when Atlantic City was what Miami is today – the spot for sea, sun and fun on America’s East Coast. Along its boardwalk and beaches, families from New York, Philadelphia and throughout the Northeast came to see Sammy Davis, Jr. and the Rat Pack perform, and to crown Miss America. But Atlantic City began to collapse in the ’60s, and all that glamour went away. In a desperate attempt to revive its boardwalk, in the 1980s the state of New Jersey approved casino gambling at the hotels that lined that coast. The effort to revive the hotels was a success, but the gambling and hotel money didn’t trickle down to the city. In fact the multi-million-dollar casinos that dominated the Atlantic City skyline actually destroyed the rest of the city. Visitors didn’t venture out of the hotel “safe zones” and spend money in the rest of the city. Nor did the hotel/casinos generate the number of jobs for residents needed to stem the rest of the city’s decline.

Into this vacuum stepped a short, native son with a big smile and a huge ego. He may have been nicknamed Midget Molley, but this man saw himself as an A.C. version of Harlem’s Nicky Barnes, a drug kingpin. Midget was so caught up in his own “largeness,” he even wore a crown around Atlantic City. His up-and-down career as a creator of a drug empire is the hook for the show, but there is more to Midget’s story.

Midget first came to my attention via MySpace, where he and his reps send info about the work he does today protecting the rights of prisoners within the correctional system. He saw much brutality and injustice when he was incarcerated. Now he works to aid those, like himself, who while serving time are beaten by the authorities. He doesn’t seek sympathy, but fair and honest treatment under the law. You see the arc of Molley’s life is rich and sad, a story that began before his criminal career and continues on well after it. Today, he walks the boardwalk of his hometown, haunted by his past and the history of Atlantic City, seeking a way to find hope and meaning in the present.

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MT Michael said on November 7th, 2008

This man needs to be commended for at least trying to reach the youth of South Jersey, people want to tell stories about how bad our people are and what they did to tear down this great city, but lets give this man credit for trying to RIGHT his WRONG.

Curtis D. Washington said on November 7th, 2008

Man, look if only these guys would have put such a foot forward BEFORE they went to jail, then maybe we could call that a difference!!!!! Thanks NEWAYS

H. Hasan said on November 29th, 2008

I watched the segment on “Midget Molley” and, at bottom, understand the allure of the criminal-as-outlaw in American popular culture as a genre.

However, do you think that American Gangster and aspects of hip-hop culture that lionizes drug dealers, pimps, tramps, murderers, and hustlers could also be part of the modern day “cultural” COINTELPRO waged against black folks? In short, could be the new “cultural crack”/COINTELPRO that detracts black people from the generational devastation that these drug dealers, in particular, and the ethos of this culture caused in communities across this nation?

The jails and morgues across America are filled with the bodies of black men, women, and innocent people who are part of this viscous and seemingly unending cycle—a near perfect and complete lack of respect for black life made respectable because of gaudy gold chains and an expensive foreign car.

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Ms. Jones said on December 1st, 2008

I have a question instead of a comment. Does anyone know if the police confiscated the crown or not?

jane doe said on December 3rd, 2008

The crown was never found nor was thousands and thousands of dollars. I’d like to think Molley buried his money and is casually and gradually enjoying it still (or his family did). again, I’D LIKE TO THINK THAT, but that is not proven to be truth.

special said on December 3rd, 2008

The crown was a beautiful thing you had to be their to appreciate it and the man that wore it. He deserves to live a good life after what the guards in prison did to him live life midget and hold your head high. 1

brick said on January 3rd, 2009

why is it all ways that black men and women are caught dealing drugs, and white people and foreign people are not being caught. they are the ones that are bringing the dope from over seas.

miss thang said on January 5th, 2009

This city will never be the same so many people have died from the poision he brought here. Here’s a question did he ever give back to the community he helped to destroy? hell no , now this city is stuck with little drug dealers trying to be like him. Thanks Midget

Party Pete said on January 5th, 2009

What a life this man has had. To truly live at both extremes of life and now get to reflect on it and end his life properly. Incredible…

T.S. Wilson said on January 5th, 2009

I remember the life midget. all to well, I was born & raised in the desecration, & devastation that he left, in the city. I grew up in( S.H.V.) Stanly Homes village. where he got his start! most of my mothers family fell victim, to Midget’s Pharisee. a lot of my male cousins work for him, & some died because of him. I see all comments here, but, non of you know him. I remember one of his daughters that I went to school with @ Indiana Ave. school her name is Kenyatta Anderson, nephew of his name Niaheem Molley. so many others, not only so but 1 good thing he done, that casino didn’t do ,was give back. listen, out of all the crime devastation he(Midget Molley) cause, this man get box truck from( just four wheels) if your from south jersey you know the place!. Ok back to the topic, Midget would get the rental truck & go the ave to city blues,Alexander shoes. & fill up the truck & come back to the (hood)village and give out free (sneeks) sneakers, It was new jack city for real, an Midget was nee no brown……lol , but no joke…………

Kelly McGhee said on April 11th, 2009

I remember Midget all too well. I was living in the city when Midget was “the man” and when he was taken down. I remember every young one wanting to be like Midget and every chick (well not every one) wanting to have a moment of Midget’s time. It is amazing how when you have to overcome bigger things than life itself you can become a better person. You go, Midget and keep doing the right thing. My man at the time wanted to be like you and he fell to the judicial system and has not been able to overcome the lure and seduction of the fast money. There was a lot of talent in AC at one time and most of those with the talent are behind bars waiting to hit the streets again. It is sad that the other end of the hustle isn’t stressed to these young ones. I do have to say though.. Midget and the crown was the wildest thing I have seen from one man who was on a path to destruction. Midget, stay strong my brother and remember to get into the heads of the young ones and do a scared straight program. Stop the craziness that people expect to see from the young brothers. We need to keep the men out here and keep them on the legit program. One Love to all!!!!

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