Kansas City may be famous for its jazz and barbeque, but it also has the dubious distinction of having had one of the best Mafias in the country.
This is according to Terence O’Malley, who researched the history of organized crime in Kansas City.
After compiling photos, artifacts and records, O’Malley produced a documentary about the subject in 2009, and recently released companion book called Black Hand Strawman: The History of Organized Crime in Kansas City. By bringing key mafia characters to life, the film tells the story of the rise and fall of Kansas City organized crime and the politicians who became caught up in its web.
KCUR's Susan Wilson caught up with O’Malley recently in the studio to learn about how the mafia got started in the early nineteen teens.