On the eve of the 90th Anniversary of the execution of Sacco & Vanzetti, Donald Trump delivered the kind of racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, hateful speech that resulted in two Italian immigrants being sent to the electric chair — not because the evidence against them was clear, but because their ethnicity was.
Today marks the 90th Anniversary of this specific consequence of killing people because they are different, and inciting a mob to murder. Donald Trump comes by his xenophobia and his hatred of immigrants naturally. His father, Fred Trump was arrested in Queens, NY., 90 years ago this past May, at a KKK Rally which was anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic and anti-black. Three months after Fred Trump was arrested at the KKK Rally, Sacco & Vanzetti were electrocuted.
History teaches us that the unjust execution of Sacco & Vanzetti is by no means the first, nor the most catastrophic example of the consequences of the hatred of “the other”, as the slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazis reminds us. It is not even the most egregious example of the hateful, fatal consequences of xenophobia concerning Italians.
That event happened 36 years earlier, in 1891, in New Orleans, LA, when 11 innocent Italian Immigrants — acquitted by a jury in a dramatic murder case — were ripped from a jail by a maniacal mob of 20,000 White Nationalists (the actual name of the group was the White Nationalists League), shot and lynched in the single largest mass lynching in American History. The White Nationalist League was incited to riot by the elected Mayor of New Orleans, Mayor Shakespeare — much like Donald Trump was inciting 20,000 White Supremacists in Arizona last night to take violent action against the press, and others.
The White Nationalist League, which took credit for the lynchings of the 11 innocent Italian immigrants, was also responsible for erecting the pro-segregationist, pro-Confederacy statues throughout New Orleans, which the current Mayor has wisely decided to take down. Trump’s defense of those symbols of racial oppression, and his incitement of modern-day White Nationalists to riot again last night in Phoenix, are not part of some low-rated reality show, but have real, life-threatening consequences.
Even though Google didn’t see fit to remember Sacco & Vanzetti on the 90th Anniversary of their death, we can. And while we’re at it, we can honor the memories of the 11 innocent Italian immigrants murdered by the White Nationalists of their time, in New Orleans, in 1891.
The names of those innocents, who came to America to seek a better life for their families, are: Pietro Monastero, Joseph Macheca, Antonio Marchesi, Antonio Scaffidi, Emmanuele Polizzi, Antonio Bagnetto, James Caruso, Rocco Geraci, Frank Romero, Loretto Comitz and Charles Traina. They are not as well known as Sacco & Vanzetti, but they are the victims of one of the biggest hate crimes committed by White Nationalists in American history, 20,000 of whom were incited to riot & murder by a high-ranking elected official. Twenty thousand White Nationalists brought to a murdering frenzy by a demagogue preaching hate & violence against others.
Remember that on this 90th Anniversary of the execution of Sacco & Vanzetti, and as we reflect upon the largest mass lynching in American history, carried out by an inflamed mob of 20,000 people against innocent Italian immigrants whose only crime, was being different.