Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1900 Black Hand mafioso
Subjectmafioso gangster 
Culture: Sicilian-American
SettingMano Nero 'Black Hand' organized crime, America late-19th - early-20thc
Evolution1861 Sicilian mafioso > 1900 Black Hand mafioso

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Alt & Wells 2008 p4-5
"While the term Mafia is now commonly used, prior to 1920 the American Mafia was usually called the 'Black Hand' (Mano Nero), a  term which has now become recognized by many Americans due to its use in the popular film The Godfather II.  With the rise of criminal activity in the United States (particularly extortion demands from blackmailers), Italian-American writers attempted to determined [SIC] the origin of the term.  Some claimed that Carlo Barsotti, editor of Il Progressor Italo-Americano in New York 'coined the term in order to avoid using the word 'mafia.'  According to Gaetano D'Amato, former President of the United Italian Societies of New York, the term was first used in Spain during the Inquisition or in the early 1880s by thieves and murderers who thought of themselves as guardians of the poor against the wealthy.  D'Amato indicated that the term may have come into use by 'some Italian desperado who had heard of the exploits of these Spaniards and thought the term either elitist-sounding or one that would inspire terror.'  Eventually, by the beginning of the twentieth century, most newspapers across the nation applied it to any crime committed by Italians in the U.S."