1920 May 5

Sacco and Vanzetti Arrested: Still-Controversial Case Begins

 

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian-born immigrants who were also anarchists, were arrested on this day for the murder of two men in a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. Their case became one of the major civil liberties causes in the 1920s, as many people believed they were arrested, convicted, and executed because they were immigrants and anarchists. Critics of the case argue that the evidence against them was weak, and that the trial and appeals of their convictions were tainted by misconduct. They were executed on August 23, 1927. Protest demonstrations were held that day in the U.S. and in Europe

Many books have been written on the case, and it continues to generate controversy over the guilt or innocence of the two defendants. Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts declared August 23, 1977, Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial Day, although he declined to pardon them posthumously as many people had asked him to do.

Read about the famous case: Bruce Watson, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, The Murders, and the Judgment of Mankind (2007)

Watch a 14-part documentary on the case: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdstXviXwYA&list=PL0D69BC52D7A81B19

Learn more about the trial: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/SaccoV/SaccoV.htm

Hear Joan Baez sing The Ballad of Sacco and Vanzetti: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5vvPrVw_kM

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