Episode 14 – The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre

“Scarface” Al Capone is shown here at the Chicago Detective bureau following his arrest on a vagrancy charge as Public Enemy No. 1 in this 8 x 10 black & white original wire photograph that has attached the original news bureau caption on verso, dated “2-26-31.”

February 14th isn’t just about flowers, candy, and dinner with your sweetheart. It is also the anniversary of one of the bloodiest gangland confrontations in US history. On February 14, 1929 seven men were shot in a north Chicago garage. This wasn’t just the ratcheting up of Prohibition-era violence in Chicago, a city seemingly out-of-control. It was also a key moment in the expansion of the Federal Government’s powers to override local control.

In our discussion of the massacre we also cover the valorization of crime, issues surrounding the racialization of criminals, and the legacy of gangs and men like Al Capone on US pop culture.

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