Black Hand


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Black Hand,

symbol and name for a criminal and terroristic secret society, and especially associated with the MafiaMafia
, name given to a number of organized groups of Sicilian brigands in the 19th and 20th cent. Unlike the Camorra in Naples, the Mafia had no hierarchic organization; each group operated on its own.
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 and the CamorraCamorra
, Italian secret criminal association in Naples. Of controversial origin, it first came to light in 1830. Its activities spread by intimidation, blackmail, and bribery until Naples was controlled by it.
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. The Black Hand flourished in Sicily in the late 19th cent., and in the United States it was especially active in New York City at the beginning of the 20th cent. It is estimated that at one time 90% of New York City's Italian population was blackmailed by letters threatening death and marked with a black hand. Famous incidents associated with the Black Hand include the murder (1890) in New Orleans of chief of police Daniel Hennessy and the shooting (1909), in Palermo, Italy, of Lt. Joseph Petrosino of the New York City police.

Black Hand,

the sobriquet for the Mafia. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1657]
References in periodicals archive ?
Rise of the Black Hand is available in both print and ebook format.
As the aristocrat and his wife rode through the streets in an open-topped car, the Black Hand made several failed attempts.
Wang Keqin, an investigative reporter on another newspaper, posted Tuesday on China's Twitter-like Weibo service: "A black hand closes heavy, black curtain, blocking brightness and fresh air as there is no weekend any more in the south.
Santos has already exposed them starting in the middle of last year, when he spoke of the existence of a shadowy "black hand" and said that not one but "two black hands are lurking.
And 63-year-old Dafydd, from Abergwyngregyn near Bangor has spent alternate weekends working with other volunteers from Gwynedd, who became known as the Black Hand Gang.
Or by children who formed their own Black Hand Gang and wore their blazers backwards.
The Black Hand of God" is a take on the story of Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita.
She first examines the imago of the Italian immigrant as found in representations in the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle; a magazine produced for Italian immigrants called La stella degli emigranti; and the movies The European Rest Cure (1904), The Black Hand (1906), The Skyscrapers of New York, Her First Adventure (1908), and The Italian (1914).
The "dark-haired and short Italian, the simpleminded songbird, the swindling macaroni eater, and the tear-bursting brute" are the most prevalent portrayals of Italians in earlier films (1904-1914) such as The European Rest Cure, The Black Hand, The Skyscrapers of New York, Her First Adventure, and The Italian (Serra 107).
When Lorinda Jameson's bankrupt father kills himself, the nefarious Black Hand mafia closes in on her to take back their debts--or her head.
The government worried that if it bailed out the Mafia and the Cosa Nostra, it would then have to bail out the Black Hand, the Triads, various domestic-based cartels and a host of smaller criminal organizations.