Louis

and the Mob

It's 1923, and it is illegal to sell alcohol in the United States. You are the owner of a secret bar and nightclub in Chicago. Business is booming, but there is always the risk of a police raid. 

Tonight, a rising star in the jazz scene is performing at your club. Before the show, you see him getting harassed by some goons from Al Capone's gang. What can you do to protect Louis from the mob? 

After the dilemma:

What really happened

     During the Prohibition Era (1920-1933), organized crime syndicates, also known as "the mob", became rich and powerful by selling bootleg liquor. Competition between gangs led to hundreds of murders, sometimes committed in broad daylight.

 

     Al Capone (1899-1947) was one of the most powerful gangsters in Chicago, and his criminal empire was worth $60 million. He was eventually convicted of tax evasion, and spent 11 years in prison. 

 

     Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was born and raised in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz music. He played trumpet, and his talents as a performer and bandleader led to international fame.

 

     There is no evidence that Armstrong was ever directly victimized by Al Capone's gang, but Armstrong did perform in Chicago during the Prohibition Era. 

Sources

https://www.historyextra.com/period/20th-century/prohibition-history-facts-what-when-start-why-passed-america-ban-alcohol/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-Armstrong

Keywords

Prohibition, Jazz Age, The Mob, Speakeasy, Chicago, Jim Crow, Roaring 20s

Hulton Archive/ Getty Images
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© 2019 Chris Seeger