Al Capone (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Through his modern business practices, cruel brutality, and self-promotion, Capone revolutionized organized crime in the United States during the Prohibition era.
Alphonse “Al” Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Gabriele and Teresina Capone, recent immigrants from southern Italy. The Capones immigrated to the United States in 1895 with their two-year-old son Vincenzo and infant son Raffaele, while Teresina was pregnant with her third child, Salvatore. The Capone family lived near the Brooklyn Navy Yard in a neighborhood primarily made up of recent Italian and Irish immigrants. They were a typical hardworking and close-knit immigrant family. It was in Brooklyn that their fourth son, Alphonse, was born in 1899.
As Gabriele’s barbershop prospered, the Capones moved to a more affluent Irish neighborhood, Garfield Place. Ironically, it was after moving away from the dingy neighborhood of the navy yard to Garfield Place that the young Capone began his life of crime. Because of disciplinary problems, Capone quit school during sixth grade and began to associate with gangster Johnny Torrio’s Five Pointers street gang. Its headquarters, the Johnny Torrio Association, was located near the Capone’s new apartment. Capone quickly became Torrio’s protégé, a relationship that greatly influenced the young Capone. Torrio was a highly innovative racketeer who took the...
(The entire section is 2032 words.)
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Capone, Alphonse (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
AL CAPONE was a gangster leader who controlled much of Chicago from 1920 to 1931. Chicago in the 1920s was a city of vice, corruption, and gangland killings, and synonymous with the evildoings of this era is the name of Al Capone.
Capone was born January 17, 1899, in Naples, Italy. His family emigrated from Naples, Italy, to New York and Capone was raised in the Brooklyn slums. During his early years in New York he made strong gangland contacts and in 1920, he became a member of the John Torrio gang. Torrio, originally from New York, relocated his operation to Chicago, with Capone at his side.
The passage of the VOLSTEAD ACT in 1919 (41 Stat. 305), which prohibited the manufacture, sale, or transportation of liquor, ushered in an era of big business for gangsters. Capone and Torrio were no exception; they operated and organized speakeasies, secret nightclubs that sold the banned liquor. Capone began to gain more power and by the time Torrio retired in 1925, Capone's control had extended to gambling, brothels, and politics. He was responsible for the gangland murders of his rivals and for forcibly controlling election results in certain precincts of Chicago; through these maneuvers, he increased his power and received protection and political favors.
Capone was at the peak of his power in 1931, when he...
(The entire section is 479 words.)