Al Capone

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   Al Capone   Al Capone is America's best-known gangster and the singlegreatest symbol of the collapse of law and order in the UnitedStates during the 1920s Prohibition era. Capone had a leadingrole in the illegal activities that lent Chicago its reputation as alawless city.  Al Capone's mug shot, 1931. Capone was born on January 17, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York. Baptized Alphonsus Capone, he grew up in a roughneighborhood and was a member of two kid gangs, theBrooklyn Rippers and the Forty Thieves Juniors. Although hewas bright, Capone quit school in the sixth grade at agefourteen. Between scams he was a clerk in a candy store, apinboy in a bowling alley, and a cutter in a bookbindery. Hebecame part of the notorious Five Points gang in Manhattanand worked in gangster Frankie Yale's Brooklyn dive, theHarvard Inn, as a bouncer and bartender. While working atthe Inn, Capone received his infamous facial scars and theresulting nickname Scar face when he insulted a patronand was attacked by her brother.In 1918, Capone met an Irish girl named Mary Mae Coughlin at a dance. On December 4, 1918, Mae gave birthto their son, Albert Sonny Francis. Capone and Maemarried that year on December 30.   Al Capone   Capone's first arrest was on a disorderly conduct chargewhile he was working for Yale. He also murdered two menwhile in New York, early testimony to his willingness to kill. Inaccordance with gangland etiquette, no one admitted tohearing or seeing a thing so Capone was never tried for themurders. After Capone hospitalized a rival gang member, Yale sent him to Chicago to wait until things cooled off.Capone arrived in Chicago in 1919 and moved his family intoa house at 7244 South Prairie Avenue. The unpretentious Capone home at 7244 SouthPrairie Avenue, far from Chicago's Loop andCapone's business headquarters. Capone went to work for Yale's old mentor, John Torrid. Torrid saw Capone's potential, his combination of physicalstrength and intelligence, and encouraged his portаigаi.Soon Capone was helping Torrid manage his bootleggingbusiness. By mid-1922 Capone ranked as Trio’s number twomen and eventually became a full partner in the saloons,gambling houses, and brothels.  Al Capone   When Torrid was shot by rival gang members andconsequently decided to leave Chicago, Capone inheritedthe outfit and became boss. The outfit's men liked, trusted,  and obeyed Capone, calling him The Big Fellow. He quicklyproved that he was even better at organization than Torrid,syndicating and expanding the cities vice industry between1925 and 1930. Capone controlled speakeasies, bookie joints, gambling houses, brothels, horse and race tracks,nightclubs, distilleries and breweries at a reported income of $100,000,000 a year. He even acquired a sizable interest inthe largest cleaning and dyeing plant chain in Chicago.Although he had been doing business with Capone, thecorrupt Chicago mayor William Big Bill Hale Thompson, Jr.decided that Capone was bad for his political image. Thompson hired a new police chief to run Capone out of Chicago. When Capone looked for a new place to live, hequickly discovered that he was unpopular in much of thecountry. He finally bought an estate at 93 Palm Island,Florida in 1928.  Political cartoon depicting Chicago's growing reputation for violence.  Al Capone   Attempts on Capone's life were never successful. He had anextensive spy network in Chicago, from newspaper boys topolicemen, so that any plots were quickly discovered.Capone, on the other hand, was skillful at isolatingand killing his enemies when they became toopowerful. A typical Capone murder consistedof men renting an apartment acrossthe street from the victim's residenceand gunning him down when he steppedoutside. The operations were quick and completeand Capone always had an alibi. The Tribune headline after the St.Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929.  Capone's most notorious killing was the St. Valentine's DayMassacre. On February 14, 1929, four Capone men entered agarage at 2122 N. Clark Street. The building was the mainliquor headquarters of bootlegger George Bugs Moran'sNorth Side gang. Because two of Capone's men weredressed as police, the seven men in the garage thought itwas a police raid. As a result, they dropped their guns andput their hands against the wall. Using two shotguns and twomachine guns, the Capone men fired more than 150 bulletsinto the victims. Six of the seven killed were members of Moran's gang; the seventh was an unlucky friend. Moran,probably the real target, was across the street whenCapone's men arrived and stayed away when he saw the
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