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Regina Nugent

History EE - Will mail cookies to anyone with feedback!

Here's what I've got after many starts & stops & redirections

To what extent did NYC's Fulton Fish Market of the 1920s create two of America's most powerful Catholic leaders?

Al Smith, America's first Roman Catholic nominee for President was the Democratic nominee in 1928 and grew up in the Fulton Fish Market when he had to drop out of school to help support his family.

Lucky Luciano, born in Sicily and Catholic, was the founding godfather of the Genovese crime family which effectively ran the fish market in the 1920s during Prohibition. Some see him as having taken charge of the entire underworld in 1931.

How did what happened in the Fish Market shape these two men?

I'm working on an outline now - any thoughts are greatly appreciated and I will mail you cookies!

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Hey! Congratulations on finding an interesting [and new!] topic first off.

Secondly, a few questions for you. About your RQ: what about the Fulton Fish Market? What is it that you think affected them? Just saying the Fulton Fish Market makes it very broad - it could be anything from the eyewitness view of economics at work to the smell of fish following them around for the rest of their lives. And in your second question, you say "what happened in the FFM". Well, what happened? Was there an event that both were affected by? Google hasn't told me anything so either you're onto something big here or you're a little lost. Remember, you only have 4000 words. You've got to keep it concise. I have a feeling that you could easily use up 4000 words just explaining the background to me.

Next, I'm a little confused as to the timelines here. Smith grew up in the market, becoming presidential nominee in 1928. So far, so good. But then you say Luciano and his mafia [it probably has a name but that escapes me at the moment] ran it during the Prohibition. So if Luciano and his family ran it during the 20s, then Smith would already have easily been an adult, since a presidential candidate must be at least 35 and most are far older. Did he still live there? I find that unlikely, and if I'm correct, are they connected at all, really?

If you have answers to these questions, then by all means go on with this, but with the vague knowledge I have of this right now, it sounds like you'd be better off taking just one of these people. I get that you didn't want to drown people in info, I really do, and you could very well be able to clarify this for me. But you've rather taken on a lot with this as I see it. Is there any way to narrow this down while still keeping your basic ideas - the FFM and Catholicism - in there? Maybe the FFM was a hotbed of crime or something, and you can get into the mafia side. Or... I don't know. I don't really know much about your topic, to be honest!

I'm guessing you're from NY, as I'm also American and I've never heard of the FFM, so kudos to you for keeping it close to home. Hope this helped!

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Thank you. I found a source in which Al Smith says everything he learned about people he learned at the fulton fish market where he worked when he dropped out of school because his father died. And Luciano made alot of money bootlegging during the prohibition running alcohol through the boats delivering fish there. i guess i think they learned value of hard work and selling commodities people need and immigrants fostering a community and working collaboratively - making a living. You're right about the time difference though and Im not sure how to address that issue. they both grew up on lower east side of manhattan & were self made men - working in fish market in different capacities brought them success - different decades. maybe focus on specifically prohibition effects at the market - saw something about there being a speakeasy on the 2nd floor? Luciano made $ and Smith used it as issue to campaign against prohibition - very popular with immigrant Catholics

I did find that by 1932 the two knew each other and Luciano originally supported Smith for nomination for pres largely because of their similar backgroud. though accdg to one source that similarity made luciano change his mind bc he didn't think someone like him could be pres and Rooselvelt promised Luciano he'd back off on prosecuting organized crime. Smith tried to tell him this was a mistake but went w Roosevelt.

I also found something about a Cardinal calling Luciano to support Al Smith.

Maybe refocus to what extent did organized crime at FFM contribute to Al Smith's nomination in 1928?

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That RQ sounds great except for one thing: if you state that they knew each other by 1932, how can you spin it that Luciano's management of organized crime in the FFM played a role in Smith's nomination four years previously? Maybe I'm just being dim, I'm not sure. Are you trying to say that the Prohibition's effects [like that speakeasy you mentioned] kind of gave them similar interests? Or something of the sort?

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Maybe I have to admit I can't really link the two other than incidentally. Thinking maybe "To what extent did Al Smith's religion prevent him from becoming President in 1928? There is alot on anti Catholic back lash and I can analyze that fact about him as compared to others like him being a New York city guy who hung out in Fulton Fish Mckt and had ties to organized crime. and was anti - prohibition.

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That sounds excellent! Good luck writing it, I'm sure it'll be wonderful.

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