Johnson Wanted to Finish The Northside for Key Community Contributors

When Nelson Johnson finally finished “The Northside,” his in-depth history of Atlantic City’s black community, relief washed over him.

Not the type of relief a writer feels when meeting a deadline, nor the relief one feels when an exhaustive process is finally finished. For Johnson, author of the acclaimed “Boardwalk Empire,” it was as though he had beaten death. Not his own, but the mortal timeline of some of his books’ key contributors.

“All of the key people that helped me with Boardwalk Empire are dead,” Johnson said before launching into a list of the deceased. “So, when Sid Trusty died, I said, ‘Oh no, not again.'”

Trusty, a native of the Northside and unofficial historian of the city’s black community, convinced Johnson to write the book, insisting that the story had to be told, and told accurately.

Johnson said he wrote the book for people such as Trusty, to give them what they deserved.

He had originally tried to summarize the Atlantic City black community’s history in “Plantation by the Sea,” a chapter of his bestselling book-turned-television-series “Boardwalk Empire.”

Read the rest of Michael Clark’s article in the Atlantic City News.