That's a fair accessment, RF. Kind of the second half of the story narrated in the film Hoodlum, starring Laurence Fishburne, which was about the rise of Bumpy Johnson. He was the black gangster who kept Dutch Schultz out of the Harlem rackets in the late '20s and early '30s. Frank Lucas (Washington) was his driver and then his successor in the late '60s and '70s. Interesting to note that Clarence Williams III, (another great character actor) who played Bumpy Johnson in American Gangster, also appeared in Hoodlum. Frank Lucas grew so powerful that he actually challenged the mob in the NYC drug trade of the '70s.
All in all, I'd recommend the movie. The cast includes Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Josh Brolin, Ted Levine, John Hawks, Ruby Dee, and Chewetel Enjifor.
I don't want my country back... I want my country forward!