1927 August 23

Sacco and Vanzetti Executed


The case of Sacco and Vanzetti was one of the great civil liberties causes of the 1920s. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were Italian immigrants and anarchists, who were arrested for a robbery and murder in Braintree, Massachusetts, on May 5, 1920. They were convicted and eventually executed. Many people believed the arrests, conviction, and sentence were a travesty of justice, motivated primarily because of prejudice against immigrants and political radicals. Their appeals failed, and they were executed on this day. Protests of the executions occurred in the U.S. and in Europe.

The case has been a continuing source of controversy ever since their execution, and it is the subject of many books, a film, and protest songs. Some recent books have questioned their innocence. On the 50th anniversary of the execution, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis proclaimed August 23, 1977, Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial Day.

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

See the documentary, Sacco and Vanzetti (2006): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805604/

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=Cl3_5X_FLwI

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