Christopher Alfaro

Professor Kitana Ananda


November 24, 2017



Al Capone.


When talking about dark years in the history of the United States it is almost impossible to skip the era of the “Roaring 20s”. It is undeniable that the American culture changed in many different aspects especially in different cities across the country. The City of Chicago was no exception to this. The population was increasing as much as the skyscrapers being built. Immigrants from all over were coming to this city searching for jobs and opportunities. The United States was always a door with “hope” and “prosperity”, but Chicago had something special. It was a city for strong people who weren’t afraid of being out there.This is what infamous criminal mastermind Al Capone was known for and this is why the city was his. He was made for those streets like Bonnie was made for Clyde. Capone’s acts of violence indeed shifted the life of many others and his operations proved the authorities were still a step behind the organized crime groups. Surprisingly people admired the man in the extravagant suits. The citizens of Chicago were in a moment in history ruled by Capone’s organized crime that led to many changes in society. What made Capone so different?


Al Capone was born in Brooklyn, to immigrant parents. He had a big family, as he was just one out of nine kids. Life as an Italian immigrant couldn’t be easy. Now being poor had just made everything much harder. Think about it, these are families that had found their way to an unknown country in search of a better life. Not only did these families come to new country, but they also had a new language to learn and also a new culture to familiarize itself with. Tobegin painting a picture:

At the turn of the century more than half of the population of New York City, and most immigrants, lived in tenement houses, narrow, low rise apartment buildings that were usually overcrowded by their land-lords.” (


The Italian Americans that came here, often came in big families and lived in very small spaces. Sadly, for many families that were just beginning, this was the most that they could do. Now, this wasn’t the situation for every family and eventually this was seen less and less as the years went on, but it was very common at the start of the period of Italian immigration to the U.S. When it is said that the apartments were tiny and overcrowded, it actually means that. No exaggerations. The conditions many of these people were living in were absolutely insane.


The labor was absolutely terrible, for both men and women. Women were actually limited to only working in sweatshops or factories, and some didn’t even work at all! kids worked the streets selling newspapers for an incredibly low salary, if we can even call it that. Like in everyday lives, there are two possible scenarios for a situation. Scenario one: Everything is fine and life is great. Scenario two: Life isn’t as great or at its absolute worst.


“Some Italians seized upon entrepreneurial opportunities in their new home.In turn-of-the-century San Francisco, a Neapolitan American named A.P. Giannini began offering small loans to his fellow Italians, going door to door to collect interest. Eventually, Giannini’s operation grew until he was forced to rent an office in the North Beach neighborhood, then to buy a building. Today, Giannini’s Banca D’Italia has become one of the world’s largest financial institutions, the Bank of America” (


Does that name ring a bell? That’s something you STILL see today, multiple years later. Of course this is more like Scenario One, where everything ends up working out. He wasn’t the only person to take advantage of what he had in front of him. Unfortunately this wasn’t the reality for many Italian immigrants.


“Many Italian immigrants, however, found themselves toiling for low pay in unhealthy work conditions. At the turn of the 20th century, southern Italian immigrants were among the lowest-paid workers in the United States” (


Italians spent their days working in factories, delivering things, at docks, or even in mines. Most of the responded to a “Patron” who actually exploited the workers. This probably wasn’t as bad as things can get but it was definitely on its way. The salary was barely enough for their monthly expenses, and unfortunately this led to families kicked out of tenements. The second scenario was the reality of many during this period of time. Maybe Al Capone saw this future ahead of him and it had an effect in the decisions he made later on in his life. As he got older he responded to no Patron, and he was the boss himself.


Capone dropped out of school in the sixth grade. At a very young age he tried doing anything he could and started getting involved in street gangs and getting his name out there. Fast forward to Chicago, 1920. Al Capone had arrived to begin leaving his mark of infamy. At the time he arrived at the second largest city in the nation following New York City, after its reconstruction of course. Capone had arrived to this city to work for childhood friend Johnny Torrio. In “Get Capone”, the timing was perfect.


“…Things began to turn during the years of World War I. A wave of temperance swept the country. Americans we expected to sober up and sacrifice for their nation. Even Chicago cleaned itself up a little. Saloons were raided. Licenses were revoked. The high-end whores and drug dealers, fearing arrest, quit working in bordellos and dance halls and moved to hotel lobbies, where they could be more discreet” (Eig, 7).


Shortly after the occurrences listed above, The Prohibition law was in effect. Capone had arrived just in time to go against everything that the law said, and since the streets were a bit cleaner he was ready to take action. With the levels of alcohol consumption dropping to an all time low because of this law, Capone’s eyes lit up like he had everything solved. His first crime, and the one that started it all: Bootlegging.


Capone’s plan to make money was genius. He was determined to give people what they wanted and he was determined to make his fortune off going against the law enforcement. Is this is correct? Absolutely not. He did what he thought he could do best. He used his tools and experience in bars, brothels, and gang activities to his advantage. According to “Get Capone”, the more the city expanded, the more its crimes did. “By 1910, a special commission reported that five thousand full time prostitutes and ten thousand part-timers worked the city, and that, combined, they were responsible for more than 27 million sex acts a year” (Eig, 5). The amount of money made in these illegal activities was unreal. Bad things always seem the most searched for and they are were what sold the most. Chicago was a city that as its streets got emptied, it starved for the crime it once had. Al Capone started his story by feeding it by bits.


The story of Al Capone has two sides. One known by all which is filled with hits, attacks, illegal alcohol, etc. The other side of events gave Capone a lot of respect and admiration from the community. In the year 1929 the United States lived its worst times due to the great depression. The country suffered immensely, and the citizens pleaded to the government for help. This caused many people to be out in the streets. There was no money or jobs. The country was inhabitable, because of course the rich stayed rich while the poor and middle class suffered. Al Capone had a soft spot for this. Although he was a wealthy man, he helped out some people who needed it. During these very difficult years, there were many people out in the streets, with no shelter and no food. Al Capone opened some of the first soup kitchens to feed those who needed to be fed. He handed out clothes during the long winters to those who lacked it. Why bother help those who are in the streets? Perhaps this menace had a heart after all. Maybe he knew what it was like being poor, and although it isn’t much, it’s something.


A small act like this is very much needed in troubled times like those. To see it come from a man like Al Capone really says something. It shows to society that people can still help if they actually wanted to. How many people got the message? I wouldn’t be able to give you the answer to that but it sure does send a message. He wasn’t your average criminal who constantly had to hide from the authorities. No, Capone was a celebrity.  Just as any other celebrity he was constantly in the public eye.


Was he treated any differently BECAUSE he was “different”? Sure there were many other mafia families and gangs, which means there were many other mobsters roaming the cities. They might have committed many of the crimes Al Capone did, but why was he such an exception in the eye of the law? Surely other criminals did time for homicides and robberies, but Capone avoiding these charges made him almost untouchable. The ironic thing is that hewas actually charged for something so simple.


But his crimes were not easily proven in court. So federal prosecutors charged Capone not with running illegal breweries or selling whiskey or even slaughtering rival mobsters, but with failure to pay his income taxes” (Columbia Law Review).


It seems almost hard to believe, this is what the man FINALLY did time for. It was so difficult to prove Capone guilty for things the whole world knew he was in charge of, the police could never bring out the truth and along with the FBI charged him with this. Like I said in one of the previous paragraphs, the Police department was always a step behind the organized crime groups. Many things would’ve been avoided if they had just found the proper evidence, or charged him of anything they were really sure of. It was Al Capone’s way with words and actions that stopped this from happening. Yes, a lot of things could’ve been stopped with Capone being locked up earlier. The difference between him and the other mobsters was that he made sure to commit the perfect crime.





Works Cited:



  • Eig, Jonathan. “Get Capone: the Secret Plot That Captured America’s Most Wanted Gangster”.

Simon & Schuster, 2011.

Columbia Law Review, vol. 150, no. 2. Mar. 2005, pp. 583-639

Short essay

The two articles that I have chosen were the ones provided to us when we visited the archive recently. The articles are REPORTS OF LEGAL SERVICES DIVISION and JANUARY 2ND COALITION FOR THE DEFENSE OF HAITIAN REFUGEES. These two articles discuss the Challenges that the Haitian refugees had to go through, back in the year of 1981. Both articles mention that these refugees were imprisoned, and we’re not given they’re right to a due process. For those who do not know what to process is it is ” fair treatment through the normal judicial system, it is a citizen’s entitlement”. The only reason this happened is because these refugees are not American citizens there for the government did not think that they could go to trial, many people argue that. In the both articles they talked about how there are 11 detention camps throughout the use and more than 2,000 people or dispersed into these camps. The reason for the refugees Coming to America was because of the horrible treatment they were given by their leader. They did not want to wait years to get accepted into the use that’s why they came here illegally. A judge named Robert Carter released 53 Haitian refugees from the Brooklyn Navy Yard to allow them to have a fair trial. After this many other refugees were released from camps to gain a fair trial as well. As time went on these individuals were giving sponsors enabling them to have trials and become citizens of the U.S. It’s unfortunate that these refugees were seeking happiness and freedom here in America but was given the complete opposite. Being put into camps like if they were animals, being treated inhumanely, it was bad enough that they have to deal with the stuff back in their country. Many American citizens did not see this an appositive mindset like the president or anyone else that supported these camps and imprisonment. The citizens who did not support this demonstrated it in rallies and protests, in one of the articles it provided a flyer that people made to show where they were going to rally and March to defend the Haitian people. Not only were these people being placed in camps and even sent to their country again they were some refugees who even sent to Belize, a country they have never been. It was like the US was just throwing out trash and putting it somewhere that they don’t care for. It was a sad time during this time many Haitians survived it and could become citizens of this great land but many more were in as fortunate. As I read this article I also think back to when Obama was President and he allowed all the Syrians to come into this country. Many people were against it scared of terrorism and other things but others we’re happy because it was good to see a president with such positive initiative to let these refugees into the country without a problem, America is built on freedom, rights, and the pursuit of happiness and I believe that any legal immigrant that comes to this country is entitled to all three of those categories.

Link to articles:

Paper sketch


English 103

Paper Sketch


Step One:

  • What are some hardships Jamaican immigrants have with adopting to the American Culture and being successful?
  • Even though u learn and probably have all the knowledge for a certain career you still have to go through the process we have here in America , for example , having your high school diploma , a certain amount of college credits and experience.
  • How many Immigrants who come here are financially stable and living the American dream?
  • Why don’t they have the same opportunity as us Americans do if they are in America but got their education in their country?


Step two:

You believe all the struggles and hardships faced by immigrants would be resolve when they come to American, however, that’s wrong they are face with many barriers even when they are here. For example, securing work is a big one because they need money to live a successful life.

  • Undocumented immigrants who face additional challenges securing work, trouble speaking English is a major problem in working positions.
  • Employers typically prefer work experience within the US, and certifications outside of the US don’t transfer.

 Immigrants who are educated and who formerly had strong jobs back home, are having a hard time finding a job here.

  • Securing a place to live
  • Having a low paying job and trying to secure a place to stay is impossible for immigrants
  • They live pay check to pay check
  • Minimum income


Raising their children to helping them succeed in school .

  • Education here is very different from those in other countries
  • Hardship learning English
  • Getting health care services.
  • Having to pay to see a doctor


Undocumented immigrants have an especially difficult time accessing services, because they are afraid of being deported.

Narrative (Kymberly Gurdon)

Throughout my childhood I have had many educational memories. My first educational memories took place in elementary school q135. However, the earliest one i could remember was back in kindergarten with my teacher Ms.James. Ms. James was one of my favorite teachers she taught me how to write my letters perfectly and she was really patient with us. Also , i could still remember when she was teaching us how to add one digit numbers she gave us starburst and had us counting them in a way we could put it together and add. After we will get to eat them.

I also remember in 5th grade close to graduation my teacher ms. Sarwee was an algebra teacher she was teaching us how to multiply big numbers to help prepare us for middle school. That class i remember because it was challenging for me it was a advance class. Even though it was challenging my teacher still made it entertaining and great learning experience i’ll never forget.

Going into middle school that’s when the experiences really started . the classes become challenging, the teacher become harder, and so did the work. I’ll never forget my social studies advance class with Mr.donor that class was really difficult he gave us several quizzes each day. However, it all paid off in the end because when i got to highschool i felt prepared and confident going into world history because of Mr.Donor i got one of the highest grades on my Global regents and ended up with a high grade in that class.

Honestly highschool for me wasn’t really challenging i was well prepared from overcoming my hardships in middle school. I felt like what others were struggling with i was already prepared. The only thing i struggled with was AP trig, other than that highschool was a breeze. Now in college ive been doing good so far with the classes that ive been given . I learned that in college so far studying is key to success.

My Educational Narrative

Jonathan Castiblanco

Dr. Kitana Ananda

Educational Narrative

My earliest memory of learning, would have to be roughly in the first grade. I remember learning different words and how sentences go together. The early introduction to making sentences/structures is what sparked my creativity for reading – but not only reading, I immersed myself in all educational topics, I discovered at an early age to appreciate what I read , despite of its content. I vividly remember travelling around New York in train and bus and seeing posters and ads and reading all of them. Even if they did not make sense.

My education was based in New York City – all public school. From kindergarten to senior year of high school, I have learned that public institutions, no matter how much people berate it, have significance and importance in so many people’s lives – including my own. Aside from having traditional public institution education (i.e., public elementary and HS as well as college), I have also gotten education in the military. I spent 5 years in the military, learning everyday new procedures and laws pertaining to what my career goal was. I have assisted in times of high stress, as a translator/linguist, during drug busts, migrant interdictions and search and rescue cases.

One particular instance of learning something outside the classroom is how to translate and interpret on the spot. Growing up, I never took any spanish classes, all the spanish I know I learned at home (Colombian mother)  and with friends (multi-latino). Having the opportunity of being exposed to these languages at an early age, gave me the upper hand when choosing what I wanted to do with myself in the military. During times of high stress, being an asset to case, one has to be specifically mindful of words and sentences employed. The translation has to seamlessly be integrated verbatim and there has to be mutual understanding between both sides of the translated conversation, in order to avoid confusion and to make sure there is clarity between both parties. In most cases, this goes well – in others, there are words that can’t really be changed to english, due to the nature of the spanish language.  

Certain things are “lost in translation”. I use this term because there are instances where finding the appropriate conduit for language can be particularly grueling, a seemingly impossible task, where words are stuck “on the tip of the tongue”, once you  add a drug bust scenario where there are men dumping kilos of cocaine over the side of the getaway vehicle as you chase them, you are at a loss for words momentarily, but you refocus your attention to the task at hand: conveying the message clearly.

Educational Narrative (Kai Nedd)

Kai Nedd

Eng 103

Ananda Kinata

                                Educational Background 


   Growing up, my parents were very strict in terms of education. They placed me in a private school in Harlem by the name of The Children’s Storefront Academy. I attended “Storefront” from pre-k to 8th grade and I will say that being in that learning institution instilled certain values in me I am thankful to have. Academically my educational upbringing played a huge part into my transition from a small child to a young adult. Being that my parents were pretty big on education and my mother acted as another tutor/teacher at home I felt as though in certain subjects I was more than efficient. That all changed however when I noticed that my difficulty in math started to not only affect my ability to keep up but it affected my esteem as well. While the others in my class were speeding by and through math problems I was stuck on the first problem, frustrated because I couldn’t get through it. I remembered in third grade my teacher at the time sitting down with both my parents and I. She said and I quote, “Mr. and Mrs. Nedd Kai’s reading comprehension is extremely well, her ability to read 4th grade and 5th grade books are amazing. However, she is struggling in math.” I could feel my cheeks heat up almost instantly because I knew this was going to come up. I began to fidget with my fingers and play with the twists in my hair. I just knew something negative was going to follow that statement. With my parents undivided attention on my teacher I tried my hardest to finagle out of my seat to the restroom but was proven unsuccessful after being told no.

“I feel as though Kai, should repeat the 3rd grade seeing as those her standard test scores for math were extremely low.” I watched as she gave each of my parents a copy of my testing scores while I cringed on the inside. I could feel the tears surface at the brim of my eyes and I wanted to do now was run and cry. I wanted to curl up in my dad’s arms and cry my eyes out. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way before that time. So, they continued to talk while I tuned them out, Finally, leaving the meeting and heading to dinner my parents had the discussion with me. They were soft, gentle and understanding in terms of their approach which made accepting me having to repeat the third grade again somewhat easier. While I worked on getting stronger with that subject my reading and writing improved immensely. Before you knew it, I was in the 7th grade reading some of the most profound readings with my favorite teacher, Ms. Cardwell. She took so much pride in not only teaching us about literature and language enrichment, however she took in pride in teaching us about our culture as well.

I remember analyzing “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison my absolute favorite author, and Ms. Cardwell making us critically think and break down each character starting with the complex one of all, Pecola Breedlove. At the time immaturity crept in and I was a tad bit annoyed but now that I think back to that moment, that made me the person I am today and I’m thankful for that.

If I hadn’t experienced what I experienced then I wouldn’t be in that place I’m in academically now. I wouldn’t have the skills to endure hard work and night-long studying. All of those experiences from my childhood made me stronger today.


Welcome to ENG 103 Writing the Research Paper, and our class website! Our course is structured around the theme of New York City’s Immigrant Communities and Movements.

This site is a part of the the CUNY Humanities Alliance network. We will be using this website to blog some of our in-class exercises and take-home writing assignments.