Chalky White
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Chalky White

Boardwalk Empire

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About Him

Grew up… in Elgin, Texas, the son of a carpenter. Chalky, who came of age at the dawn of the Jim Crow era, has suffered his fair share of discrimination. As a boy, he saw his own father lynched by a gang of white business rivals.

Living… in Atlantic City, N.J. Chalky started from the bottom in his adopted city. He went from playing dice games under the boardwalk to becoming one of the most influential businessmen in the city.

Profession… racketeer and unofficial leader of Atlantic City’s African-American community. Chalky controls the black vote in the city, making him a necessary friend for any politician. He’s also been known to do a violent favor every now and then for County Treasurer Nucky Thompson, who doubles as Atlantic City’s leading gangster.

Interests… his family. Chalky has made it to the top tier of Atlantic City business and politics, and he did it all for his wife and three children. Though he’s given them access to the finer things in life, Chalky doesn’t care too much for the details of luxury. “I don’t gotta spell it,” he says of new chandeliers for his club. “Just pay for it.”

Relationship Status… married with children. Chalky’s wife Lenore is an educated and sophisticated woman who smoothes over Chalky’s rough edges. To his pride, he sees his children adopting the refined manners of their mother rather than his sometimes violent, streetwise ways. He wants a better world for them.

Challenge… making sure he isn’t being taken advantage of. Even though he’s proved himself in the criminal underworld, he still faces discrimination as a black man. It’s sometimes difficult for Chalky to tell the difference between a friend and a foe, and he knows that he has to be very careful about whom he trusts. “Heard a lot of ‘we’ last year, when you was in trouble,” he once said to Nucky. “Now it’s just ‘you.’”

Personality… shrewd and tough. Chalky knows how the world works, and he wants to do anything he can to stay ahead of the curve. Atlantic City during Prohibition is a bit like the Wild West, and Chalky is interested in getting a major piece of the action.

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