Kefauver Hearings


In the aftermath of World War II, the public started hearing more about organized crime and its corrosive influence in communities across America. Business and political leaders demanded action. A freshman U.S. senator from Tennessee, Estes Kefauver, seized the opportunity. In 1950 and 1951, he chaired a Senate committee charged with investigating organized crime and exposing its corruption of public institutions. The Kefauver Committee held hearings in 14 cities across the country, including one in the courtroom of this building. The Kefauver hearings confirmed the existence of a national crime syndicate and revealed lax enforcement.