Black Hand extortion was a criminal tactic used by gangsters based in major cities in the United States. In Chicago, Black Hand extortion began around 1900 and had all but faded away by 1920, replaced by the "Mafia." The Mafia was initially organized by Johnny Torrio and further organized by Al Capone sometime later.Black Handers in Chicago were mostly Italian men from Calabria and Sicilian men who would send anonymous extortion notes to their victims emblazoned with a feared old country symbol: the "Black Hand". The Black Hand was a precursor to organized crime (Mafia) although it is still a tactic practiced by the Mafia and used in organized crime to this day. Black Hand blackmail was also common in New York and New Orleans. Victims would pay up or be beaten, shot, or have their place of business bombed. Starting around 1909, The Black Hand was causing difficulties for mob boss Big Jim Colosimo a former Black hand gangster and owner of brothels throughout Chicago. In an effort to fix the problem Colosimo recruited Johnny Torrio, a member of New York's Five Points Gang who would eventually become the famous successor of Big Jim Colosimo and then later mentor Al Capone as the organized crime ruler of Chicago. But originally Torrio came to Chicago to fix the problem of the Black Hand which was threatening Colosimo's life with demands for cash to insure his physical safety.
The notorious Johnny Torrio (January 20, 1882 – April 16, 1957), also known as "The Fox", was born Giovanni Torrio in Orsara di Puglia, a village in south central Italy, was alleged to have killed ten Black Hand gangsters in his first two months in Chicago. Of the ten men he was alleged to have killed, Filippo Catalano was one of them.
Filippo Catalano was an alleged Black Hand gangster in Chicago in the early 1900s (decade). He was born in 1875, in Gioia Tauro, a coastal village in Southern Italy, in the region of Calabria, and he died on 5 June 1910, in Chicago, Illinois, from five gunshot wounds he received that evening. Catalano came to the United States and eventually he owned and operated a saloon in Chicago and was connected to the Chicago criminal night life. It was said of Catalano that he was "hated and feared by his countrymen" in the Italian Colony according to Capt. Cudmore of the Chicago police third precinct and the central detail as the investigator of his murder.Filippo Catalano was shot five times and died one hour later in the People's Hospital, before he died observing the gangland principle of omertà (total silence) Catalano never mentioned the name of his assailant, this was common for Italian/Sicilian men not to identify their assailant to the police. Filippo Catalano was allegedly killed by Johnny Torrio. Although a subsequent investigation turned up the name Eugeno Monaco who may have been the triggerman working for Torrio.
One of the stories of assassination was told in the murder of Filippo Catalano, Catalano was in the Vesuvius restaurant a restaurant frequented by Chicago's night life. On the night of June 5, 1910 as Catalano walked out from the restaurant at approx. 3 a.m. in the company of Edgar K Accetta a New York Lawyer, who was in town on business, and a third man who was later identified as the person who shot Catalano, allegedly Eugeno Monaco an Italian man, the three men were walking towards an approaching car when Monaco allegedly drew a revolver and shot Catalano five times. In an incident involving Catalano on March 27, Catalano was alleged to have shot John Jocko in front of 1821 South State Street witnesses identified Catalano as the shooter, the victim survived the shooting and would not prosecute, at that time Catalano was released. Catalano's killer escaped fleeing on foot and was traced to the Rock Island Pacific Railroad tracks where he disappeared.Filippo Catalano fits in the time period where Johnny Torrio came to Chicago to assassinate Chicago Black Hand Gangsters who was extorting his Uncle from 1909 to 1911, by 1920 Black Hand activity had all but faded. Johnny Torrio then went on to run and organize The Chicago Outfit.
Another death was the death of Maria Giordiani, in the year 1911Roman_de_la_Rose, she was an Italian immigrant child only 4 years old, her body was found on her bedroom floor, her parents Ricardo Giordiani and Eleanor Giordiani were missing and never found. It is alleged that the Giordiani family had been targeted by the Black Hand. This case is in itself a mystery, not much is understood about the death of the fogeys although we've gained information about the jeune fille that was found within the two story home of the Giordiani family. Ricardo Giordiani is an Italian immigrant that managed to steal Eleanors heart, she is believed to possess European origins moreover making them an immigrant couple. they'd given life to Maria which was only 4 on the night the Black Hand Mafia was planning on taking the life of Mr.Gordiani. as much information that we could gather they had targeted him as his debt from his close corporation had increased and he was once a member of the Mafia at a young age thanks to his father and their immigration. We believe that Maria was targeted so as to frighten the adults. As planned they fled their house as their beloved child had been shot. All that was found was a small doll, a book titled "Roman de la rose"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_de_la_Rose and a shawl that belonged to Mrs.Giordiani.
John Donato Torrio was an Italian American mobster who helped to build a criminal organization, the Chicago Outfit, in the 1920s; it was later inherited by his protégé, Al Capone. He also put forth the idea of the National Crime Syndicate in the 1930s and later became an unofficial adviser to Lucky Luciano and his Luciano crime family.
Francesco Ioele, better known as Frankie Uale or Frankie Yale, was an American gangster based in Brooklyn and second employer of Al Capone.
Vincenzo Colosimo, known as James "Big Jim" Colosimo or as "Diamond Jim", was an Italian-American Mafia crime boss who emigrated from Calabria, Italy, in 1895, and built a criminal empire in Chicago based on prostitution, gambling, and racketeering. He gained power through petty crime and by heading a chain of brothels. From about 1902 until his death in 1920, he led a gang that became known after his death as the Chicago Outfit. Johnny Torrio was an enforcer whom Colosimo imported in 1909 from New York and who seized control after his death. Al Capone, a Torrio henchman, allegedly was directly involved in the murder.
The Chicago Outfit is an Italian-American organized crime syndicate based in Chicago, Illinois, which dates from the 1910s. It is part of the American Mafia originating in South Side, Chicago.
See also: 1909 in organized crime, 1911 in organized crime and the list of 'years in organized crime'.
See also: 1918 in organized crime, other events of 1919, 1920 in organized crime and the list of 'years in organized crime'.
See also: 1924 in organized crime, other events of 1925, 1926 in organized crime and the list of 'years in Organized Crime'.
See also: 1919 in organized crime, 1921 in organized crime and the list of 'years in organized crime'.
Maurice "Mossy" or "Mossie" Enright was an Irish-American gangster and one of the earliest Chicago labor racketeers in the early 20th century.
The Levee District was the red-light district of Chicago from the 1880s until 1912, when police raids shut it down. The district, like many frontier town red-light districts, got its name from its proximity to wharves in the city. The Levee district encompassed four blocks in Chicago's South Loop area, between 18th and 22nd streets. It was home to many brothels, saloons, dance halls, and the famed Everleigh Club. Prostitution boomed in the Levee District, and it was not until the Chicago Vice Commission submitted a report on the city's vice districts that it was shut down.
Chicago, Illinois, has a long history of organized crime and was famously home to the American mafia figure Al Capone. This article contains a list of major events related to organized crime.
The Genna crime family, was a Prohibition era crime family in Chicago. From 1921 to 1925, the family was headed by the six Genna brothers, known as the Terrible Gennas. The brothers were Sicilians from the town of Marsala and operated from Chicago's Little Italy and maintained control over the Unione Siciliana. They were allies with fellow Italian gang the Chicago Outfit. After a bloody war led to their demise in the 1920s, the gang was eventually absorbed by the Chicago Outfit.
James "Mad Bomber" Belcastro was a Black Hand gang member, extortionist, and later chief bomber for the Chicago Outfit during Prohibition.
Joseph "Diamond Joe" Esposito was an Italian-born Prohibition-era Chicago politician who was involved in bootlegging, extortion, prostitution and labor racketeering with the Genna Brothers.
Michael "The Pike" Heitler was a Prohibition gangster involved in prostitution for the Chicago Outfit. He was a German-American Mob Boss.
Shotgun Man was an assassin and spree killer in Chicago, Illinois in the 1910s, to whom murders by Black Hand extortionists were attributed. Most notably, Shotgun Man killed 15 Italian immigrants from January 1, 1910 to March 26, 1911 at "Death Corner," the intersection of Oak Street and Milton Avenue in what was then Chicago's Little Sicily. In March 1911, he reportedly murdered four people within 72 hours.
James Cosmano also known as "Sunny Jim" was a leader of the Black Hand street gang in pre-Prohibition Chicago who tried to extort money from the South Side gang.
Al Capone is a 1959 biographical crime drama film directed by Richard Wilson, written by Malvin Wald and Henry F. Greenberg, and released by Allied Artists. It stars Rod Steiger as Al Capone.
Black Hand is a 1950 American film noir directed by Richard Thorpe and starring Gene Kelly as an Italian immigrant fighting against the Black Hand extortion racket in New York City in the first decade of the 20th century.
Michele "Mike the Devil" Genna was an Italian-born mobster in Chicago during the 1920s. He headed the Genna crime family with his brothers. He was killed by police officers after a shootout with North Siders, being one of the only American organized crime leaders to be killed by a policeman.