17 Jul

Born in New York City in 1923, Joseph Anthony Colombo Sr. grew up in the tough streets of Brooklyn. Like many others starting their mob career, he became involved in street gangs and gradually climbed the ladder of mafia success. 

Joe’s rise to power began in the 1960s with the Profaci crime family. Later on, it became the Colombo Family. His role in the Magliocco crime family, however, took a dramatic leap when he defied orders from his boss, Joe Magliocco, to carry out a plot against the heads of two other New York families.

 Ordered to kill Tommy Lucchese and Carlo Gambino. Instead, Joe went to the targets and tipped them off. Colombo secretly joined forces with Joseph Bonanno.  Colombo founded the Italian-American Civil Rights League (IACRL) in 1970. 

This move was an attempt to improve the public image of Italian-Americans and challenge the stereotyping and discrimination they faced. The IACRL grew and organized large rallies, bringing attention to issues faced by Italian-Americans. 

As depicted in the docu-drama of the making of The Godfather, The Offer, Albert Ruddy, the producer went to see Joe and ask his permission to make the movie. Colombo wasn’t thrilled about the movie because it made Italians seem like criminals. Ruddy promised Joe that the movie was mainly about family and would take out the word “Mafia” in the script. It was mentioned once. 

At one of The Italian-American Civil Rights rally, a man shot him in the head three times. Miraculously, he survived and lived paralyzed and, in a coma, another seven years until the shooting took its toll on his health. He died on May 22, 1978 at 54. 

#joecolombo #profacicrimefamily

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