- Historic Sites
Said Chicago’s Al Capone:“I Give The Public What The Public Wants…”
What the public wanted, it seemed, was a vice and bootleg business netting sixty million dollars a year-and many gangland funerals
February/March 1979 | Volume 30, Issue 2
There are those who say that Scarface Al Capone bequeathed to America a legacy of corruption that prevails to this day. In 1963 Senator John L. McClellan’s Subcommittee on Investigations elicited from Chicago police superintendent Orlando Wilson a remarkable statistic. Since 1919, Wilson reported, there had been 976 gangland murders in his city, but only two of the killers had ever been convicted. Wilson’s choice of 1919, not being round numbered, may have seemed arbitrary to most of his listeners; but to seasoned observers of organized crime it was clearly Chicago’s watershed year. For in 1919 a young man from New York had come to Chicago—an unsingular happenstance at the time, yet one that seems to have made all the difference ever since.