Roosevelt & the 1891 lynchings

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joetucciarone
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Roosevelt & the 1891 lynchings

Post by joetucciarone »

This year marks the 130th anniversary of the largest mass lynching in U.S. history. On March 14, 1891, eleven Sicilians were killed by a mob in New Orleans. A week after the event, Theodore Roosevelt (then a Civil Service Commissioner and ten years later, 26th President of the U.S.) attended a social event and afterward described his dinner conversations in a letter to his sister, Anna:

https://www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org ... ID=o280928

On the second page of the letter, Roosevelt said "various dago diplomats were present, all much wrought up by the lynching of the Italians in New Orleans. Personally, I think it rather a good thing, and said so."
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joetucciarone
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Re: Roosevelt & the 1891 lynchings

Post by joetucciarone »

To be fair, Theodore Roosevelt wasn't wholly anti-Italian. According to Wikipedia, while he was a New York City police commissioner, Roosevelt became friends with Joseph Petrosino and promoted Petrosino to detective sergeant in charge of the department's Homicide Division.
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Re: Roosevelt & the 1891 lynchings

Post by TerraLavoro »

@joetucciarone, Thank you for this post. This is one of the most flagrant examples of anti-Italianism in American history, and remains a largely untold story. I am linking a wikipedia article in case others want to know more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_14, ... _lynchings
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Re: Roosevelt & the 1891 lynchings

Post by joetucciarone »

You're welcome. Roosevelt's comment dates from a time when ant-Italian sentiment was very common and when a few Americans even viewed Italians as non-white.
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