The Most Popular Gangster of the 1930’s:
“Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what they are going to remember about me.”(“Al Capone biography” Bio.true story).
During the Great Depression gangsters took control of the major cities such as New York, Boston, and Chicago by running prostitution rings, bootlegging, loansharking, and running illegal gambling rackets. Al Capone was one of these gangsters. He was a racketeer, a bootlegger, and a loan shark. He ran prostitution rings, owned nightclubs, dance halls, race tracks, gambling establishments, restaurants, speakeasies, breweries, and distilleries all by the time he was 26 years old(Rosenberg About.com). The most notorious gangster and cold-blooded killer of the 1920’s and 30’s, Al Capone was also known to be generous to the average citizen and flamboyant in his behavior, a reputation that led to his public popularity.
One example of Al Capone’s cold-bloodedness occurred in the spring of 1929. Capone had learned that three of his associates planned to betray him, so he invited all three to a huge banquet. After the three unsuspecting men had eaten heartily and drank their fill, Capone's bodyguards quickly tied them to their chairs. Capone then picked up a baseball bat and began hitting them, breaking bone after bone. When Capone was done with them, the three men were shot in the head and their bodies dumped out of town. (“Al Capone Biography” bio.true story). Capone is also believed to have planned the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, a fake raid designed to eliminate rival gangster Bugs Moran. Though Moran managed to escape, members of his gang were lined up and murdered execution style. Newspapers and police knew that Capone had staged the massacre regardless of his absence in Florida (“Al Capone Biography” bio.true story).
Capone took advantage of the Prohibition Era and made millions. He was an outlandish character. He dressed in colorful suits, wore a white fedora hat, proudly displayed his 11.5 carat diamond pinky ring, and would often pull out his huge roll of bills while out in public places. It was hard not to notice Al Capone.(Rosenberg About.com)
Al Capone started one of the first soup kitchens. The kitchen employed a few people, but fed many more. In fact, preceding the passage of the Social Security Act, “soup kitchens” like the one Al Capone founded, provided the only meals that some unemployed Americans had. Soup kitchens rose to prominence in the U.S. during the Great Depression. One of the first and obvious benefits of a soup kitchen in the early 20th century was to provide a place where the homeless and poor could get free food and a brief rest from the struggles of surviving on the streets. Al Capone’s intention was to clean up his image. The Chicago Tribune headlined on December 1931, “120,000 meals are served by Capone Free Soup Kitchen”(Al Capone’s Soup Kitchen During the Great Depression Rare Historical Photos). This soup kitchen became one of the strangest sights Chicagoans had ever seen. An army of ragged, starving men assembled three times a day beside a storefront at 935 South State Street, feasting on the food