History EditThe Black Hand, also known as "La Mano Nera" in the Italian language, originated in southern Italy. Italian or Sicilian immigrant criminals who came to the United States in the 1880s were the first to practice their methods, and by 1900 they were firmly-established in the Italian-American communities of New York City, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Chicago, Scranton, San Francisco, and San Francisco. 90% of Italian immigrant workmen in New York were threatened by the Black Hand with extortion, although successful businesspeople were usually the ones targeted.
Don Massimo Fanucci and his younger brother Jack Fanucci was a famous Black Hand leader, and he was known to not only extort non-Italians but also Italians, which was seen as disrespectful by Italian-American organized crime. He was an intimidating New York City mob boss, but he had little support behind him other than fabricated claims of having some other mob bosses such as Giuseppe Morello behind him. In August of 1920 Fanucci was assassinated by Vito Corleone, then a small-time criminal who Fanucci attempted to extort. However, Corleone refused, rightly suspecting that he had no strength behind him. When he shot him dead, he had no bodyguards with him. In the mid-1920s, the Black Hand declined as Mafia leaders sought more subtle ways to extort people rather than to terrorize them.
In 1934, Vito Corleone (now the Don of the powerful Corleone crime family) began the Pacificiation of New York, which he planned to divide New York between the strongest five or six families of organized crime rather than let it be populated by several amateur criminal gangs. The Black Hand neighborhood terrorists, Murder, Inc., freelance bookies, and shylocks were targeted for extermination, and the Five Families wiped them out. By 1937, the only families controlling New York were the Corleone family, Barzini crime family, Tattaglia crime family, Cuneo crime family, and Stracci crime family.
Don: Massimo Fanucci
Caporegime: Giuseppe Morello