The Rise and Fall of Al Capone

Topics: Al Capone, North Side Gang, Bugs Moran Pages: 6 (2125 words) Published: December 7, 2005
Alphonse Capone was born on January 17, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York to Gabriele and Teresina Capone. He grew up in a rough neighborhood and was a member of two gangs; the Brooklyn Rippers and the Forty Thieves Juniors. Alphonse did well at school until the 6th grade when he was expelled for retaliating against a teacher who hit him. He was fourteen at the time. He became part of the Five Points gang in Manhattan and worked in gangster Frankie Yale's bar, the Harvard Inn, as a bouncer and bartender. While working at the Inn one night, local gangster Frank Gallucio was drinking with his sister at the Harvard Inn. Capone approached the girl to compliment her, and Gallucio took offense to him started a fight. Gallucio pulled a knife and cut Capone's face three times. That is how "Scarface" came to be. In 1918, Capone met an Irish girl named Mae Coughlin at a dance. On December 4, 1918, Mae gave birth to their son, Albert Francis. Al and Mae married that same year on December 30th. Capone's first arrest was on a disorderly conduct charge after Capone hospitalized a rival gang member. Frankie Yale sent him to Chicago until things cooled off. Capone arrived in Chicago in 1919 and moved his wife and son, and several members of his immediate family into a house at 7244 South Prairie Avenue.

Once in Chicago, Capone went to work for Yale's old mentor, John Torrio, who also became godfather to his son. Torrio saw Capone's potential, his combination of physical strength and intelligence, and took him under his wing. In January 1920, the 18th Amendment of the Prohibition Act came into force, which made the brewing, distilling and distribution of alcohol completely illegal. The era of Prohibition was underway, and Chicago's criminal underworld, including Johnny Torrio who was prepared to make bootlegging alcohol a very profitable business. Around the end of 1920 Capone's father tragically died, but Capone was doing well in Chicago venture and did not go astray. At just 22 years of age Capone became Torrio's partner in his Chicago businesses, and was Torrio's number-two man helping to mange the bootlegging, saloons, gambling houses, and even the brothels. Capone now had greater responsibilities and was given the opportunity to expand the operation to the Chicago suburb of Cicero.

Once Torrio took his mother back to Italy to live, Capone became the acting boss. The men liked, trusted, and obeyed Capone, calling him "The Big Fellow." In Cicero, Capone gained significant political victory, but at the price of his brother's life. The 1924 primary election was key to Capone's dominance in Cicero, and on Election Day, Capone's men threatened voters and kidnapped the opponents of the candidates that they were backing. City police armed seventy-nine officers with shotguns and put them on the streets in civilian clothes to protect the voters. As police were driving down the street, one of them identified Frank Capone, one of Al's older brothers. Frank drew his revolver and was then fired upon by police and killed. Al had still won the election Cicero but was grieving for the loss of his brother. His temper stayed under control for a few weeks but when Joe Howard, a small-time thug assaulted a good friend of Al's, Capone quickly tracked him down and shot him dead. This brought a lot of publicity down on Capone, but he still managed to get away with murder because several witnesses had "faulty memories." Until that point, Capone's temper had been pretty much under control. Now with this incident, and the media attention it brought, he was now infamous in the city if Chicago.

Capone quickly proved that he had a gift for organizing and expanding the city's vice industry between 1925 and 1930. Capone controlled speakeasies, bookie joints, gambling houses, brothels, and had an income of $100,000,000 a year. He even acquired a sizable interest in the largest cleaning and dyeing plant chain in Chicago. There was a florist and North Side gang...
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