This gang is known to have emerged from Corleone, Sicily, but they had carried out mayhem and murders on the streets of the city of New York and created chaos conditions.
Formation of the gang
The Black Hand’s co-leader was Giuseppe (Joe) Morello. Being born in 1867, Joe had his right hand to be deformed severely and had just a pinkie elongated finger, grotesquely bent forward. Hence, he was called popularly as ‘Little Finger’, ‘One Finger Jack’ and ‘The Clutch Hand’. After the death of his natural father, his mother had got remarried to Bernardo Terranova, the Mafiaso. His step sister Salvatrice Terranova had married Ignazio Lupo. The Black Gang Mafia family was formed by Joe Morello, Vincent and Nick Terranova, the brothers to Guiseppe and The Wolf Saietta. This gang at that point of time was said to be the most feared and hated. Morello and Saietta, both were said to share equal powers within the organization.
In the initial stage of its formation, Joe Morello along with his other half brothers had joined Corleonesi Mafia Family in Corleone, Sicily and earned from murdering anyone that was instructed by their Corleonesi bosses.
Then Morello had determined that he would like to make it big by dealing in counterfeit bills or ‘funny money’. Although for some time, everything went fine, in 1892 with the arrest of Morello for dealing in phony cash, and facing charges, he found it wise to leave secretly the country to settle down in America. It was in New York City’s Lower East Side that he settled in.
On arrival in America, the Terranovas and Morello had tried their very best to escape the American law enforcement officials and had settled in Little Italy region of Manhattan and undertook legal jobs, like plastering. They joined Ignazio Saietta to carry out series of illegal and legal endeavors, including terrorizing the city’s New York Italian immigrants. In 1899 he started what he was a master of, which is counterfeiting American money and printed five and two dollar bills. To have the bills circulated, he hired few men of Irish and Italian descent.
It was in 1898 or 1899 that Ignazio Saietta, Joe Morello along with Terranova brothers Ciro and Vincenzo had formed the American Black Hand extortion plan and started to terrorize Italian local entrepreneurs sending them ‘La Mano Nera’ or ‘Black Hand’ extortion letters. The letters had the local Italian businessmen threatened of their business being bombed or leading to their death, in case, they were not able to give out some money.