Albert "Chalky" White (played by Michael Kenneth Williams) is a major character in Season 1 through Season 5. Chalky is a racketeer and the unofficial leader of the African-American community in Atlantic City. For the most part, Chalky White is shown to be fiercely loyal to Nucky Thompson, despite their occasional differences.
Biography[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
He claims to have been born in Elgin, Texas, the son of a talented self-taught carpenter. A local notable, T.O. Purcell, heard about Chalky's father's reputation and hired him to build a massive, decorated bookcase in his new home. The work took ten months and after its completion his father brought Chalky to see it. However, the white carpenters in the town didn't like the competition this might bring them and under a scheme they brought Chalky's father out of town and hanged him on a pepper tree. Chalky claims that it was six men who did it; if accurate, this could imply that the young Chalky was present when his father was killed ("Anastasia"). It is known that his father-in-law dissaproved of him at first, believing him to be a "no account" because of where he was from and because he worked as a storefront employee. He claimed that Chalky was half Apache to disparage him. However, once Chalky proved himself dependable by helping him out when he ran into some trouble, his future in-law's perception changed. It is implied that Chalky may have "gotten rid of someone" for him ("Spaghetti and Coffee"). Chalky has shown himself to be a shrewd businessman and a charismatic leader.
Chalky had moved to Atlantic City by the late 1890s, where he ran dice games by the beach. It was there, in 1898, when he first met and began to pay then Sheriff Nucky Thompson a bribe destined to the town boss, the Commodore Louis Kaestner. In 1901 Chalky met the Commodore himself and learned that Nucky had been looking out for him during those three years, keeping him out of trouble. ("The Emerald City"). Chalky also paid bribes to Jim Neary when he was a cop. ("Ourselves Alone")
Eventually, Chalky amassed enough money and power to become the unofficial leader of the town's black community, centered on Atlantic City's North Side. Chalky would charge exorbitant sums of money and other favors to politicians, usually of the dominant Republican Party in exchange for 100 percent of the black vote. In return, Chalky distributed a small part of the wealth in gifts and money among the African-American community and intervened in their favor when they had a problem. He married up, to an educated, light-skinned African-American woman, Lenore White. By 1921 he has fathered three children: two teenagers, Lester and Maybelle, and an infant, Adeline. His house is one of the most luxurious in Atlantic City ("Ourselves Alone").
Season 1[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Chalky White Season 1
Season 2[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Chalky White Season 2
In February 1921 Chalky has just paid Jimmy Darmody for a liquor shipment when his warehouse is attacked by the Ku Klux Klan. They use a Maxim machine gun to pepper the warehouse, murdering 4 people in the process. Chalky however survives after one of his own shoots one of the attackers in the arm, causing them to panic and flee the scene. Chalky then grabs a rifle and shoots one of them in the neck, killing him.
The incident soon reaches Nucky Thompson and he along with Eli Thompson quickly meets with Chalky to discuss the situation. Chalky is angry because they are supposed to be protected from the Klan and is at first ready to end the partnership with Nucky, explaining that his people are behind him and that they are needed for the city to run. Nucky goes on explaining that if Chalky proceed in that fashion and it causes problems for his people, they will have more to lose than he does. Chalky agrees not to proceed that way and asks if Nucky will arrest him. Nucky assures him that for now he can handle it without arresting him.
Chalky is later seen listening to Nucky speaking to the black community, assuring them all that the responsible will be brought to justice.
The word soon gets around that the man Chalky shot, Herman Dacus has died from his neck injuries following Chalky shooting him which enrages the white community. This prompts Nucky to have Eli arrest Chalky for his own safety. Nucky himself is also arrested for election rigging. While in jail, Chalky first shares a cell with Nucky, discussing the possibility of the attack on the warehouse coinciding with the arrest of Nucky himself, they both suspect that something has changed and is afoul. Nucky is later released and he asks Chalky to be patient.
Later the same day, Chalky is visited by his wife, Lenore White whom brings him a book from their son Lester White. When Lenore later leaves, a man named Dunn Purnsley makes provocative comments about his wife.
Chalky and Dunn later ends up in the same cell and after Dunn's deduction that Chalky is illiterate, proceeds by mocking Chalky for it and makes it clear that he will beat Chalky up for thinking that he is "better" than him. Before Dunn however is able to do so, Chalky shows Dunn what kind of power he exercises and reveals that he actually knows every other cellmate present, all of them thankful to him for different kind of favors he has granted them. They proceed by beating Dunn to a bloody pulp and one of them later reads the book that Chalky was handed by his wife.
About a month later, Chalky is released from jail but with a trial still looming for him. He returns home to his family where he gets news that his daughter Maybelle White's beau Samuel Crawford has been invited to dinner the next day. Chalky approves of the dinner. During the breakfast he is again reminded that he is illiterate and that he really doesn't belong with the rest of his family that can all read and are light-skinned.
The same day, Chalky attends a gathering for the black community where Chalky as it's unofficial leader gets to answer questions and receives requests from fellow members of the community. The gathering however soon becomes very tense when many relatives of the dead victims in the warehouse asks Chalky out about what's being done about it and if they will ever be compensated for it, blaming him for always promising them services yet nothing ever gets done.
Returning home from the very unsuccessful gathering, Chalky starts to drink heavily and during the dinner with the his daughter's light-skinned beau gets upset about the dinner being served and is later sent into a rage when his wife apologizes for Chalky's "country ways". Samuel tells Chalky that he's sorry and prepares to leave, Chalky however stops him and comments that he is really the one that should go outside since he is the "field n**ger" unlike everyone else present. He gets up and leave for the garage were he starts to carve a stick.
Nucky and Chalky later agrees that his liquor operation should be started again and Chalky joins a coalition between Atlantic City, Philadelphia and New York where Charlie Luciano and Meyer Lansky will deliver Chalky the alcohol in Atlantic City. Chalky reminds them to flash their lights when they arrive since he will not take another chance of having the Klan attack them.
After an unsuccessful attempt on Nucky's life in the summer Nucky pretends to step down, needing time to retaliate. He then summons Chalky to meet with him. In the meeting Nucky asks Chalky to call a citywide African-American strike to give the black community the justice they deserve, Chalky is at first reluctant to do so during the tourist season because it would "shut the city down" but is assured by Nucky that that's exactly what he wants, since it won't be his problem after he has stepped down from his post. Chalky then agrees to this and orders the strike to be set up with the help of his former enemy Dunn Purnsley who will plant the seed among the African-American workers in the Ritz that they are not treated with respect, even though it's them who enables the city to run.
Dunn later comes to see Chalky to feed him information about their plan and he assures Chalky that the workers is as ready as can be and are only waiting for Dunn to give them the word and the strike will be in motion, Chalky orders him to do so and the strike is successfully triggered.
An attempt to thwart the strike is made by strike breakers trying to break up a rallying for strikers outside of The Ritz Carlton. After this fails, Chalky and Dunn have a meeting with the new ruler of Atlantic City, Jimmy Darmody. Chalky asks Jimmy out about his involvement in the moves made against his people, but Jimmy denies it being his idea. He offers Chalky the possibility of dropping the charges for the killing of Herman Dacus. Chalky doesn't think it's enough and, in addition to that, asks for $3,000 for each victim's family and the three remaining KKK members who were involved in the shooting. Jimmy agrees to the former, but not the latter, tipping his hand to Chalky that Jimmy and the Klan are on the same side. The meeting ends without a deal reached.
Jimmy's rule of Atlantic City is, however, soon put in extreme jeopardy with Nucky's successful moves against his organization as well as his wife being murdered. This prompts Jimmy to cave in to the demands of Chalky and as promised he delivers the three Klan members, $3,000 for each family and gets Chalky case dropped with the help of Governor Edwards. Chalky then agrees to call off the strike and also to set up a meeting between Jimmy and Nucky.
Season 3[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Chalky White Season 3
Chalky White is in January 1923 visited by Samuel Crawford, his oldest daughter's boyfriend, at his club. Samuel is there to ask Chalky for permission to ask Maybelle to marry him. Chalky agrees to this after Samuel, a practising doctor examines him and impresses him when he diagnoses Chalky with a mineral deficiency by noticing white spots on his nails, Chalky welcomes him to the family.
Chalky later has a conversation at their house with Maybelle about Samuel's proposition. Chalky thinks that it is a good idea for her to marry Samuel, seeing it as good for their family as a whole, considering he eventually will become a doctor. Maybelle is not as convinced and explains to her father that she will never be ready to settle down with someone like Samuel, as he is not interesting enough. She eventually compares Samuel to the interesting life of her own father, asking Chalky about how he and her mother, Lenore met. This doesn't sit well with Chalky and he demands her to marry him, explaining to her that her life belongs to him.
Samuel and Maybelle go to Chalky's Honky Tonk later that evening. Samuel, not to happy about Maybelle's dismissal about his marriage proposal, asks her to give him a straight answer if she wants to marry her or not. Their conversation is however interrupted by the dancers, and after asking one of them to watch what he's doing, the man responds by slashing Samuel's face with a knife. Dunn Purnsley emerges from the crowd and he beats the man to a bloody pulp. Chalky arrives on the scene and demand that they both leave, Samuel on the other hand insists on helping the beaten man. Chalky now staring with his own scar at his daughter demands her to look him in his eyes and tell him if she still finds him interesting.
About a month later when Nucky Thompson's obsession with Billie Kent has reached it's climax and takes it upon himself to save Billie's career. Nucky calls upon Chalky and Dunn Purnsley in to strong-arming Eddie Cantor to take on a lead-role in a show where Billie is starring. He and Purnsley arrives to the hotel where Cantor is staying and they pay a visit to his room. Cantor is first confused by their visit but soon realizes what it's all about. Chalky and Dunn make him perform for them on the spot. Cantor agrees and tries his best to amuse his visitors but to no avail, he then asks Chalky and Purnsley to tell Nucky that he'll do it.
In May, after Gyp Rosetti has tried to have Nucky Thompson murdered by a bomb at Babbette's Super Club, Chalky visits Nucky to talk to him about rebuilding of Babbettes. However Nucky is in no condition to discuss that at the moment, he at one time mistakes Chalky for his shoeshiner Harlan. Chalky decides to wait with his proposition until the next time they'll meet.
The next time he arrives to Nucky's office, Nucky has become more lucid and Chalky decides to proceed with his plan. He explains to Nucky that he has a lot of financial backing and connections all around United States that will help him bring in the right acts to a new night club he wants to open on the Boardwalk where black people will work and perform while white people will be it's customers. He also makes it clear to Nucky that he will give him a proper cut of the profit from the club and that nobody wants to be reminded of what happened to the previous club. Nucky is however not as enthusiastic explaining that there is a line for what can be done and tells Chalky that he can't make a decision since he has other things to take care of for the moment. They continue to argue until Nucky angrily asserts that he has told Chalky how things stand and asks why he has a hard time understanding that. Chalky leaves Nucky very displeased.
Not many hours later, Joe Masseria and Gyp makes their move on Atlantic City and their men scattered all over town looking for Nucky. Nucky and his bodyguard Eddie Kessler however has managed to escape from town and arrives in the middle of the day at Chalky's Honky Tonker. Nucky asks Chalky for assistance in fighting Gyp as well as his help to find a doctor to treat the wounded Eddie. Chalky is reluctant after Nucky shut down his idea for a club, but agrees to keep Nucky safe for the moment. Chalky calls upon Samuel to save Eddie, Samuel agrees to help them and they begin a surgery on Eddie to get the bullet out of his stomach. The surgery is however interrupted by Gyp who has arrived to the north side of town to ask Chalky about Nucky. Chalky walks outside and meets with him and during a long confrontation, weighs his option of giving up Nucky or protect him. He chooses the later and makes sure Gyp is on his way away from there.
Chalky however is worried that some of his men will give Nucky up, since Gyp has offered $25.000 to anyone giving information about Nucky's whereabouts. Nucky then asks Chalky to get him out of town, which Chalky agrees to help him with. In the middle of the night Chalky and Purnsley puts Nucky in the back of a pickup truck to transport him out of town. Along the way they are however stopped by three of Masseria's men. They end up killing them and Nucky then makes it clear to Chalky that it will be a price on his head as well from now on and that he won't leave his own town. Chalky then orders Dunn to head back to the Honky Tonker to fetch their men. They proceed by driving to a lumberyard where [Eli Thompson]]'s eldest son William Thompson is waiting for them and lets them in.
While hold up at the lumberyard, Nucky makes a promise to Chalky that if he get the town back he will give Chalky the club that he's been asking for. After hearing this Chalky decides to help Nucky in his war and the two shake hands. Seconds later cars arrives which the two first believe to be men there to kill them, but they actually turns out to be Dunn with their men from the Honker Tonker as well as Eli and Al Capone arriving with reinforcements from Chicago.
Nucky and his allies makes the lumberyard their headquarter and In the following days a turf war ensues in Atlantic City with both sides suffering casualties. During the time held up in the lumberyard, Chalky's and Capone's men have a hard time keeping their enemy on hold while fighting the war and Nucky has to keep them separated. Later when a big brawl is just about to start between the two groups, Nucky and Eli emerges from their office and declares that Masseria has withdrawn his support from Gyp and he needs Chalky and Capone to plan their victory out. The plan is for Nucky and Eli to head for the Artemis Club to murder Gyp and for Chalky and Capone to take all their men to a narrow road in the woods, where they will massacre all of Masseria's men returning to New York. Chalky's and Capone's mission is later accomplished.
Relationships[edit | edit source]
- Lenore White: Wife
- Maybelle White: Daughter (deceased)
- Lester White: Son
- Adeline White: Daughter
- Althea Maitland: Daughter (with Daughter Maitland)
- Oscar Boneau: Mentor (deceased)
- Daughter Maitland: Lover
- Richard Harrow: Friend (deceased)
- Valentin Narcisse: Enemy, business partner (deceased)
- Winston: Friend
- Levi: Friend
- Nucky Thompson: Boss of the organization, bootlegging connection and Friend (deceased)
- Jimmy Darmody: Former boss of the organization (deceased)
- Commodore Louis Kaestner: Former boss of the organization (deceased)
- Dunn Purnsley: Labour leader, doorman, traitor (deceased)
- Travis Elkins: Dissatisfied worker
- Arnold Rothstein: Bootlegging associate (deceased)
- Bill McCoy: Bootlegging associate
- Waxey Gordon: Bootlegging associate
- Lucky Luciano: Bootlegging associate
- Meyer Lansky: Bootlegging associate
- Herman Kaufman: Bootlegging associate (deceased)
- Kendall: Former driver (deceased)
- Jerome: Former driver
- Matteo D'Alessio: Murder victim, Philadelphia gangster, strangled to death for hanging Chalky's driver Kendall
- Herman Dacus: Murder victim, Klansman, shot in the neck while trying to escape after shooting up Chalky's brewery
- Herb Crocker: Ordered death, Klansman, tortured to death by Chalky's men
- Dick Heatherton: Ordered death, Klansman, tortured to death by Chalky's men
- Charlie: Ordered death, KKK member, tortured to death by Chalky's men
- Dunn Purnsley: Ordered beating for talking back and making threats to Chalky
- Two unnamed Gyp Rosetti gunmen ("Two Imposters")
- Two Atlantic County Sheriff deputies ("White Horse Pike")
- One unnamed Valentin Narcisse gunmen ("Havre De Grace")
- Milton: Murder victim, killed with hammer to save Marie and Fern.
Memorable Quotes[edit | edit source]
- "Tell Nucky I ain't got all day." ("Boardwalk Empire")
- "For every drop that's spilt from these here bottles, I'ma take a drop out of one of y'all asses" ("Broadway Limited")
- "I was born in Elgin, Texas. My daddy taught himself the carpenter trade doin' for the black folk there. I tell you anything that man put his hand to- table, chair, wedding chest- he'd make that wood sing. Now one day a man, Mr. Theo Purcell, come around. He a white man. Own his own store... stable...hotel. He say to my daddy, 'I hears you the finest carpenter in Elgin.' My daddy tell him, 'Well I can't say one way or the other, but uh I knows a bit about somethin'.' So Mr. Theo Purcell take my daddy to this house he was buildin'. Biggest house in town. Then walk in there and say, 'This here gon' be the library. What you think about that?' My daddy say, 'Well I thinks you need some bookcases.' 'Well then that's what I want you to make me.' Ten month my daddy worked there. And when he finished bring me around. 'Uh, Mr. Purcell this here my boy. I'd like to show him what I done.' 'Well, come on in!' Through the front door. Just like that. When we did- when I seen them bookcases all carved and scrolled with flowers, baskets of fruit, little angels floatin' in the corner...that was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. About a month later another man come round. 'I seen what you did for Theo. Can't let that old dog top me. You come around my house and I'll show you what I need.' My daddy go with him to the edge of town. Wasn't nothin' there but six white men. Twelve foot of rope and the pepper tree they hung him from." ("Anastasia")
- "These here my daddy tools." ("Anastasia")
- "Well... I ain't buildin' no bookcase." ("Anastasia")
- "How you know I drive a Packard?" ("The Emerald City")
- "Motherfucker" (repeated line)
- "Well, Buck, you do what you want. Just be you and your right hand anyway." ("Ourselves Alone")
- "You stay here son. Right there. Inside the house. Pretty clear who the field n**ger is." ("What Does the Bee Do?")
- "Look at me, girl. Look at me! You interested now? Am I interesting now?" ("Spaghetti and Coffee")
- (to Gyp Rosetti) "You just ain't done cookin' yet, friend." ("Two Imposters")
- (to Nucky) "All due respect, General Custer, this ain't no spot for a last stand." ("Two Imposters")
Appearances[edit | edit source]
|Season one appearances|
|Boardwalk Empire||The Ivory Tower||Broadway Limited||Anastasia|
|Nights in Ballygran||Family Limitation||Home||Hold Me in Paradise|
|Belle Femme||The Emerald City||Paris Green||A Return to Normalcy|
|Season two appearances|
|21||Ourselves Alone||A Dangerous Maid||What Does the Bee Do?|
|Gimcrack & Bunkum||The Age of Reason||Peg of Old||Two Boats and a Lifeguard|
|Battle of the Century||Georgia Peaches||Under God's Power She Flourishes||To the Lost|
|Season three appearances|
|"Resolution"||"Spaghetti and Coffee"||"Bone for Tuna"||"Blue Bell Boy"|
|"You'd Be Surprised"||"Ging Gang Goolie"||"Sunday Best"||"The Pony"|
|"The Milkmaid's Lot"||"A Man, A Plan..."||"Two Imposters"||"Margate Sands"|
|Season four appearances|
|"New York Sour"||"Resignation"||"Acres of Diamonds"||"All In"|
|"Erlkonig"||"The North Star"||"William Wilson"||"The Old Ship of Zion"|
|"Marriage and Hunting"||"White Horse Pike"||"Havre De Grace"||"Farewell Daddy Blues"|
|Season five appearances|
|Golden Days for Boys and Girls||The Good Listener||What Jesus Said||Cuanto|
|King of Norway||Devil You Know||Friendless Child||Eldorado|