Wednesday 2 July 2014

Capone Rules Chicago


A Sicilian immigrant named Fema arrived in Chicago in the 1920's.  Eager to work hard, he shined shoes and swept streets.  But he tired of an honest day's labour and turned to pick pocketing.  He was good at it, but not quite good enough not to get caught; he was thrown in jail.  When Fema came out, he vowed to make a name for himself.

In Prohibition era Chicago, he started making his own liquor.  Gangster Al Capone offered to sell the liquor and Fema agreed.  But after three weeks, he decided to eliminate the middle man.  He hired tow thugs to kill Capone, but they refused, revealing Fema's scheme to the gangster.  Capone turned the tables on Fema, ordering a hit on him and his two brothers.  After the three murders, the rest of the Fema family returned to Italy, leaving Capone to rule the streets of Chicago.

During Capone's "reign of terror", he would enter a shop and get instant attention.  One day, he appeared at the barber shop and ordered the customer in the chair to get out.  However, after his haircut, he paid for the haircut of the man whom he had kicked out of the chair.

On another occasion Capone hired blues musician Fats Waller to play for him and his gangster cronies. Capone asked Waller to play late into the evening.  Can I stop now Mr Capone?  Keep playing kid.  On day two, Waller again played late into the evening.  Can I stop now Mr. Capone?  Keep playing, kid. Finally, on the third night, Capone pulled a wad of bills from his pocket and handed them to Waller; they totalled $10,000.

Capone's criminal activities eventually caught up with him.  The police knocked on his door.  He fled the city ending up in Canada where he hid in an underground tunnel beneath Moose Jaw, where he used to get bootleg rum from a local farmer.

Capone ruled Chicago streets for seven years.  No one would forget his reign of terror, especially the St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929.

Just when Chicagoans thought they had him figured out, Mr. Capone opened a soup kitchen to feed the unemployed in 1931.  He was always keeping everyone guessing.

The police caught up with him the following year and put him behind bars in Alcatraz, an island prison where he would find it impossible to escape.  Released seven years later, Capone spent his remaining years in Florida.,_02-1931_-_NARA_-_541927.jpg

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