In the home of an Italian rag-picker, Jersey Street.

How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York
Jacob Riis

Monument to the immigrant, New Orleans riverfront.

One of the largest mass lynchings in American history involved eleven Italians in New OrleansLouisiana in 1891. Nine Italians, who were thought to have assassinated police chief David Hennessy, were arrested, tried and acquitted. However, subsequent to the trial, they were dragged from the jail and lynched by a mob that had stormed the jailhouse, together with two other Italians who were being held in the jail at the time on unrelated charges. Afterwards, hundreds of Italian immigrants, most of whom were not criminals, were arrested by the police.

In 1899, in Tallulah, Louisiana, three Italian Americans shopkeepers were lynched because they had given equal status in their shops to blacks. A vigilante mob hanged five Italian Americans, the three shopkeepers and two bystanders.

“I hate my head
My rotting head
which will never fall of itself
like any decent pear.
It has the intention
of flying up to the sky,
but it will always trail in the dust:
eating grime and dirt,
screaming erotic songs,
begging all the world
to enter in it.”

Queer Things by Emanuel Carnevali (via dontwatchthat-watchthis)

Emanuel Carnevali was an Italian American poet that left permanent traces in the history of modern literature.

Emanuel Carnevali was a name stuck in my head for many years. Like other young Italians I got fascinated by the mention of his name, in a song by Massimo Volume, a band that who was involved in underground music, honored like a small cult.

That song “Il primo dio" (The first god), lives of the same desolated beauty of the words of Carnevali himself.

"Emanuel Carnevali, morto di fame nelle cucine d’America,
Sfinito dalla stanchezza nelle sale da pranzo d’America,
E c’è forza nelle tue parole.

(Emanuel Carnevali, you, dying of hunger in the kitchens of America,

you, dead tired in the dining rooms of America,

You wrote.

And there is strength in your words)

Sopra le portate lasciate a metà, i tovaglioli usati,
Sopra le cicche macchiate di rossetto,
Sopra i posacenere colmi
Sapevi di trovare l’uragano.
Dire qualcosa mentre si e’ rapiti dall’uragano:
Ecco l’unico fatto che possa compensarmi
Di non essere io l’uragano.”

"on top of those half eaten meals,

lipstick stained cigarette butts,

overfilled ashtrays,

you know you would find the hurricane.

Saying something while you’re taken by the hurricane is the only thing

that compensates the fact that I’m not that hurricane.”

(Pictures taken from the Archives of Labor Urban Affairs, Wayne State University)

"On January 11, 1943 newspaper publisher Carlo Tresca was murdered. The murder was orchestrated by Vito Genovese as a favor to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini."

Who was Carlo Tresca? In times where nothing seems left of the legacy of the Italian-American intellectuals of the 20th century, and Italy in this country became a matter of Jersey Shores and assorted cliches, I feel like it’s time to talk about these long forgotten and tenaciously hidden historical figures, in all their controversial and yet consistent contribution to this country’s history.

"Carlo Tresca (March 9, 1879 – January 11, 1943) was an Italian-born American newspaper editor, orator, and labor organizer who was a leader of the Industrial Workers of the World during the decade of the 1910s. Tresca is remembered as a leading public opponent of fascism, stalinism, and Mafia infiltration of the trade union movement. Tresca was assassinated by a Mafia gunman in 1943.”

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