Biography: Al Capone for Kids (2024)

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Al Capone


Biography: Al Capone for Kids (1)
Al Capone Mugshot 1929
Author: FBI photographer

  • Occupation: Gangster
  • Born: January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York
  • Died: January 25, 1947 in Palm Island, Florida
  • Best known for: An organized crime boss in Chicago during the Prohibition era


Al Capone was one of the most notorious gangsters in American history. He was the leader of an organized crime gang in Chicago in the 1920s during the Prohibition era. He became famous for both his criminal activity as well as his donations to charity. He was seen as a "Robin Hood" figure by many poor people of the time.

Where did Al Capone grow up?

Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 17, 1899. His parents were immigrants from Italy. His father worked as a barber and his mother as a seamstress.

Al grew up in Brooklyn with his 8 brothers and sisters. Some of his brothers would later join him in his Chicago crime gang. Al got into all sorts of trouble in school. Around the age of fourteen, he was expelled for punching a teacher.

Joining a Gang

After dropping out of school, Al became involved in the local street gangs. He got involved with a number of gangs including the Bowery Boys, the Brooklyn Rippers, and the Five Points Gang. One time he got in a fight and got a cut on his face. After that he was known by the nickname "Scarface."

Moving to Chicago

Capone moved to Chicago to work for the crime boss Johnny Torrio. Al worked his way up in the organization and became Torrio's right-hand man. During this time period, Prohibition had made making and selling alcohol illegal. The gang made most of their money from selling bootlegged liquor. In 1925, Torrio was killed by a rival gang and Al Capone took over as the crime boss.

Organizing Crime

Capone turned the crime organization into a money making machine. He became very rich selling illegal liquor, offering "protection" services, and running gambling houses. Capone was known for being ruthless. He had rival mobsters killed and personally murdered anyone in his gang who he thought might betray him. Despite his growing reputation as a crime boss, he managed to stay out of jail by bribing the police and politicians. He used his vast wealth to gain popularity with the people. During the Great Depression, it was Al Capone that opened the first soup kitchen for the homeless in Chicago.

St. Valentine's Day Massacre

On February 14, 1929, Capone ordered a hit on a rival gang led by Bugs Moran. Several of his men went to a garage owned by Moran's gang disguised as police officers. They gunned down and killed seven of Moran's men. The event was called the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. When people saw the pictures in the paper, they realized just how bad a guy Al Capone was. The government also decided they needed to put Capone in jail.

Eliot Ness and the Untouchables

Capone spent a short time in jail for previous crimes, but the government couldn't gather enough evidence to put him away. A Prohibition Agent named Eliot Ness decided to go after Capone's operations. He gathered a number of loyal and honest agents that later earned the nickname the "Untouchables" because they couldn't be bribed by Capone.

Ness and his men managed to raid a number of Capone's illegal facilities. Capone tried to have Ness assassinated several times, but failed. In the end, Ness didn't catch Capone for his organized crime activities, but helped the IRS catch him for evading taxes.

Prison and Death

Capone was sent to prison in 1932 for tax evasion. He served 8 years in prison including time at the famous island prison of Alcatraz. By the time he was released in 1939, Capone was sick and mentally ill from disease. He died on January 25, 1947 from a heart attack.

Interesting Facts About Al Capone

  • He married Mae Coughlin at the age of 19. They had one son together, Albert "Sonny" Capone.
  • If businesses refused to buy his liquor, he would have them blown up.
  • He once said "I am just a businessman, giving the people what they want."
  • He liked to show off by wearing custom suits and lots of jewelry.


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  • More About the Great Depression

    Causes of the Great Depression
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    Dust Bowl
    First New Deal
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    Stock Market Crash

    Crime and Criminals
    Daily Life in the City
    Daily Life on the Farm
    Entertainment and Fun

    Louis Armstrong
    Al Capone
    Amelia Earhart
    Herbert Hoover
    J. Edgar Hoover
    Charles Lindbergh
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    Babe Ruth

    Fireside Chats
    Empire State Building
    Roaring Twenties

    Works Cited

    Biography >> The Great Depression

    Biography: Al Capone for Kids (2024)


    Biography: Al Capone for Kids? ›

    Al Capone was an American criminal born to a New York family of immigrants. He moved to Chicago in the 1920s and became rich and famous by selling alcohol during Prohibition. His crimes, including killing enemies, led to him being sent to Alcatraz prison, where he died by the mid-1940s.

    Who was Al Capone and what was he famous for? ›

    In the “roaring twenties,” Al Capone ruled an empire of crime in the Windy City: gambling, prostitution, bootlegging, bribery, narcotics trafficking, robbery, “protection” rackets, and murder. And it seemed that law enforcement couldn't touch him.

    How old was Al Capone when he became boss? ›

    In January 1925, Torrio was gunned down outside his Illinois home. He survived the attack but left Chicago later that year, choosing 26-year-old Capone as his replacement. Capone expanded “the outfit,” as he referred to his underworld organization, and went on to become one of America's leading mobsters.

    What does Al Capone do? ›

    Why is Capone famous? ›

    He was one of America's most notorious gangsters, famous for running a multi-million-dollar Chicago operation in gambling, bootlegging and prostitution in the 1920s, and inspiring countless books and films, including Scarface.

    What is one positive thing Al Capone did? ›

    Around a year after the 1929 stock market crash that led to the Great Depression, Capone opened a soup kitchen at 935 South State Street in Chicago that touted “Free Soup, Coffee & Doughnuts for the Unemployed” and served more than 2000 people a day.

    Why did people admire Al Capone? ›

    People loved his charismatic image, even if it was a contrived facade for selfish gain. Quite aside from his despicable acts, Capone became synonymous with opulence and success, wealth and class, serenity and confidence. Those traits are highly admirable and deeply persuasive.

    How did Al Capone became so powerful? ›

    Capone was sent to Chicago and helped Torrio rid the city of their underworld competition. After Torrio retired, Capone became Chicago's de facto crime czar, running gambling, prostitution, and bootlegging rackets and expanding his territories by gunning down rivals.

    How did Al Capone affect society? ›

    Capone was not only a bootlegger, killer, and gangster, but also a popular public figure who opened one of the nation's first soup kitchens, and was a devoted patron and guardian of jazz, giving African American musicians opportunities that they would otherwise never have had.

    What was Al Capone worth when he died? ›

    Net Worth Timeline
    Al Capone Net Worth 1947 (Death)$20 Million
    Al Capone Net Worth 1930$150 Million
    Al Capone Net Worth 1925$3 Million
    Al Capone Net Worth 1920$280,000
    Al Capone Net Worth 1915$100
    1 more row
    May 30, 2023

    Who was kidnapped by Al Capone? ›

    Waller was kidnapped in Chicago while leaving a performance in 1926. Four men bundled him into a car and took him to the Hawthorne Inn, owned by Al Capone. Waller was ordered inside the building and found a party taking place. With a gun to his back, he was pushed towards a piano and told to play.

    Was Al Capone a Millionaire? ›

    Al Capone (estimated net worth in 1929: $100 million)

    According to Biography, by 1929 notorious Prohibition-era gangster Al Capone had a fortune of $100 million: or as much as $18.6 billion in today's money.

    Why is Al Capone a hero? ›

    Al Capone, also known as Scarface, was a notorious hero. Capone has given himself to something bigger or other than himself such as sacrificing himself to stand up for others rights, help others who struggled financially, and create a better security throughout cities.

    Was Al Capone a good father? ›

    While Al Capone's criminal life has been written about endlessly, his personal life is still a mystery. In a new book, Deirdre Bair explores what the gangster was like behind the crime scenes.

    When was Al Capone most popular? ›

    Al Capone (1899–1947) is one of the most notorious American gangsters of the 20th century and has been the major subject of numerous articles, books, and films. Particularly, from 1925 to 1929, shortly after Capone relocated to Chicago, he enjoyed status as the most notorious mobster in the country.

    Did Capone escape Alcatraz? ›

    Al Capone [the most famous gangster] was sent for the for a lot of times. And he went crazy because he kept making and remaking his bed. There was many escape attempts at alcatraz but none of them were successful. Two of them were reported missing.

    Is Scarface based on Al Capone? ›

    Both the film and novel are loosely based upon the life of gangster Al Capone, whose nickname was "Scarface". The names of characters and locations were changed only minimally. Capone became Camonte, Torrio became Lovo, and Moran became Doran.

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