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- Italian Americans - Wikipedia
- Italian Americans
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Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Cronache da un mondo in rivolta Italian Edition. Set up a giveaway. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Those that became U. Senate from Vermont in , and has served continuously since then; and Alfonse D'Amato , who served as U. Senator from New York from to Benjamin Civiletti served as the United States Attorney General during the last year and a half of the Carter administration, from to Scores of Italian Americans became well known singers in the post-war period, including: Numerous Italian Americans became well known in movies, both as actors and directors, and many were Academy Award recipients.
Italian Americans were active in professional sports as players, coaches and commissioners. Well-known professional baseball coaches in the post-war decades included: In professional football, Vince Lombardi set the standard of excellence for all coaches to follow. In college football, Joe Paterno became one of the most successful coaches ever.
Seven Italian American players won the Heisman Trophy: In college basketball, a number of Italian Americans became well known coaches in the post-war decades, including: Italian Americans became nationally known in other diverse sports.
Italian Americans - Wikipedia
Rocky Marciano was the undefeated heavyweight boxing champion from to ; Ken Venturi won both the British and U. Open golf championships in ; Donna Caponi won the U. Women's Open golf championships in and ; Linda Frattianne was the woman's U. Italian Americans founded many successful business enterprises, both small and large, in the post-war decades, including: Coffee and Conair Corporation. Seven Italian Americans became Nobel Prize laureates in the post-war decades: Italian Americans continued to serve with distinction in the military, with four Medal of Honor recipients in the Korean War and eleven in the Vietnam War.
By the close of the 20th century, Italian Americans had achieved education, employment and income parity with Americans in general. They had excelled in all fields of endeavor, and had made substantial contributions in virtually all areas of American life and culture. Within a century of the period of peak immigration, Italian Americans had achieved prominence in politics, the judiciary, business, the professions, the military and the Catholic hierarchy.
They were counted among the country's best known sports and entertainment figures. In the s, Italian Americans voted heavily Democratic. By more than twice as many Italian American legislators as in served in the six states with the most Italian Americans. Congress includes Italian Americans who are leaders in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Rick Santorum won many primaries in his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman on a major party ticket, running for Vice President as a Democrat in They are joined by more than associate members, who are not Italian American but have large Italian American constituencies.
Bill Pascrell of New Jersey and Rep. Pat Tiberi of Ohio. The NIAF hosts a variety of public policy programs, contributing to public discourse on timely policy issues facing the nation and the world. They helped elect Fiorello La Guardia a Republican as mayor in , and helped reelect him in , and They rallied for Vincent R. Impellitteri a Democrat in , and Rudolph W. Giuliani a Republican in when he lost , and in and when he won. All three Italian Americans aggressively fought to reduce crime in the city; each was known for his good relations with the city's powerful labor unions.
Italian Americans have played a prominent role in the economy of the United States, and have founded companies of great national importance, such as Bank of America by Amadeo Giannini in , and many companies that have contributed to the local culture and character of U. Italian Americans have also made important contributions to the growth of the U. About two thirds of America's Italian immigrants arrived during — Others came to provide for the needs of the immigrant communities, notably doctors, dentists, midwives, lawyers, teachers, morticians, priests, nuns, and brothers.
Many of the skilled workers found work in their speciality, first in the Italian enclaves, and eventually in the broader society. Traditional skills were often passed down from father to son, and from mother to daughter. Italian women who arrived during the period of mass immigration had to adapt to new and unfamiliar social and economic conditions. Mothers, who had the task of raising the children and providing for the welfare of the family, commonly demonstrated great courage and resourcefulness in meeting these obligations, often under adverse living conditions.
Their cultural traditions, which placed the highest priority on the family, remained strong as Italian immigrant women adapted to these new circumstances. Married women typically avoided factory work and chose home-based economic activities such as dressmaking, taking in boarders, and operating small shops in their homes or neighborhoods.
Italian neighborhoods also proved attractive to midwives , women who trained in Italy before coming to America. Many of the who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in were Italian-American women. Angela Bambace was an year-old Italian American organizer for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union in New York who worked to secure better working conditions and shorter hours for women workers in the garment industry.
The American scene in the s featured a widespread expansion of women's roles, starting with the vote in , and including new standards of education, employment and control of their own sexuality. The Italian-American media disapproved. It demanded the holding of the line regarding traditional gender roles in which men controlled their families. Many traditional patriarchal values prevailed among Southern European male immigrants, although some practices like dowry were left behind in Europe. The community spokesmen were shocked at the notion of a woman marking her secret ballot.
They ridiculed flappers and proclaimed that feminism was immoral. They idealized an old male model of Italian womanhood. Mussolini was popular with readers and subsidized some papers, so when he expanded the electorate to include some women voting at the local level, the Italian American editorialists applauded him, arguing that the true Italian woman was, above all, a mother and a wife and, therefore, would be reliable as a voter on local matters but only in Italy.
Feminist organizations in Italy were ignored, as the editors purposely associated emancipation with Americanism and transformed the debate over women's rights into a defense of the Italian-American community to set its own boundaries and rules. Food was a major concern, and recipes were presented which adjusted to the availability of ingredients in the American market.
Food supplies were limited in Italy by poverty and strict import controls, but abundant in America, so new recipes were needed to take advantage. In the second and third generations, opportunities expanded as women were gradually accepted in the workplace and as entrepreneurs. Women also had much better job opportunities because they had a high school or sometimes college education, and were willing to leave the Little Italies and commute to work. After the war, Italian American women had much greater freedom in choosing a career, and seeking higher levels of education. Consequently, the second half of the 20th century was a period in which Italian American women excelled in virtually all fields of endeavor.
They were responsible for a significant number of firsts:. The National Organization of Italian American Women NOIAW , founded in , is an organization for women of Italian heritage committed to preserving Italian heritage, language and culture by promoting and supporting the advancement of women of Italian ancestry. The culture the Italian immigrants brought with them was generally not the high Italian culture of Dante and Michelangelo , but the culture of the region or village from which they came.
These individual but related cultures established the basis of contemporary Italian American culture. A University of Chicago study  of fifteen ethnic groups showed that Italian Americans were among those groups having the lowest percentages of divorce, unemployment, people on welfare and those incarcerated.
On the other hand, they were among those groups with the highest percentages of two-parent families, elderly family members still living at home, and families who eat together on a regular basis. Italian-American culture, and transplanted Italian culture , have influenced American culture in a variety of ways, such as: The Italian American Museum in New York City, established in , is dedicated to the struggles of the Italian immigrants and their descendants, and to their achievements and contributions to American culture and society.
The Italic Institute of America  is dedicated to fostering and preserving knowledge of the classical Italian heritage of American society, through the Latin language and Greco-Roman-Etruscan civilization, as well as 5 centuries of contributions to American society by Italians and their descendants. Additionally, two major Italian American fraternal and service organizations, Order Sons of Italy in America and Unico National , actively promote knowledge of Italian American history and culture. Each year it focuses on a theme representative of the history and culture of Italy and Italian Americans.
The works of a number of early Italian-American authors and poets, born of immigrant parents, were published in the first half of the 20th century. Pietro Di Donato , born in , was a writer best known for his novel, Christ in Concrete , which was hailed by critics in the United States and abroad as a metaphor for the immigrant experience in America. She is best known for her series of biographies of 19th Century English writers. She was also a frequent translator of classic Italian works into English, and published several romantic novels set during historical events.
John Ciardi , born in , was primarily a poet. Among his works is a highly respected English-language rendition of Dante 's Divine Comedy. John Fante , born in , was a novelist, short story writer and screenwriter. Other notable 20th-century authors included: Helen Barolini's The Dream Book: An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women was the first anthology that pulled together the historic range of writing from the late 19th century to the s.
It exhibited the wealth of fiction, poetry, essays, and letters, and paid special attention to the interaction of Italian American women with American social activism. Ferlinghetti was also the co-founder of City Lights Bookstore , a San Francisco bookstore and publishing company that published much of the work of other Beat Generation writers.
A scholarly literature has also emerged that critiques the literary output. Common themes include conflicts between marginal Italian American and mainstream culture, and tradition-bound immigrant parents opposed by their more assimilated children. She is especially interested in showing how authors portrayed the many configurations of family relationships, from the early immigrant narratives of journeying to a new world, through novels that stress intergenerational conflicts, to contemporary works about the struggle of modern women to form nontraditional gender roles.
At Brooklyn College, Dr. As a result of the efforts of magazines like Voices in Italian Americana , Ambassador , a publication of the National Italian American Foundation and Italian Americana , edited by Carol Bonomo Albright , Italian Americans have been reading more works of their own writers.
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A supplemental website at www. Dana Gioia, was Poetry Editor of Italian Americana from to , followed by poet Michael Palma, who also selects poems for Italian Americana ' s webpage supplement. As of , twelve books have been published in the bilingual series from Bordighera Press. Tomasulo have made significant contributions to film scholarship as authors, editors, and educators. Italian Americans have written not only about the Italian American experience but, indeed, the human experience. The vast majority of Italian Americans are Catholics , at least nominally.
Most of these Jesuits left their homeland involuntarily, expelled by Italian nationalists in the successive waves of Italian unification that dominated Italy. In addition to their pastoral work, they founded numerous high schools and colleges, including Regis University , Santa Clara University , the University of San Francisco , and Gonzaga University. Joseph's tables", where meatless dishes are served for the benefit of the communities' poor. Columbus Day is also widely celebrated, as are the feasts of some regional Italian patron saints.
Started by Italian immigrants from Montefalcione, a small town near Naples, Italy in , the feast is widely considered the largest and most authentic Italian Religious festival in the United States. Over vendors and , people attend the feast over a 3-day period in August. San Gennaro September 19 is another popular saint, especially among Neapolitans.
Santa Rosalia September 4 , is celebrated by immigrants from Sicily. San Rocco is the patron saint of Potenza, as is San Gerardo. Many still celebrate the Christmas season with a Feast of the Seven Fishes. On this feast day, people will pin money on a Blessed Virgin Mary statue as a symbol of prosperity. For almost 25 years, Cleveland Bishop Anthony Pilla participated in the parade and Mass to celebrate his Italian heritage. Bishop Pilla retired in April , but continues to participate. While most Italian-American families have a Catholic background, there are converts to Protestantism as well.
In the early 20th century, about Protestant missionaries worked in urban Italian American neighborhoods. Some have joined the Episcopal Church , which still retains much of the Catholic liturgical form. Some have converted to evangelical churches. Fiorello La Guardia was an Episcopalian on his father's side; his mother was from the small but significant community of Italian Jews. There is a small charismatic denomination, known as the Christian Church of North America , which is rooted in the Italian Pentecostal Movement that originated in Chicago in the early 20th century.
The Church of Jesus Christ Bickertonite , a denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement , which is headquartered in Monongahela, Pennsylvania , counts significant numbers of Italian Americans in its leadership and membership. The Jewish emigration from Italy was never of a magnitude that resulted in the formation of Italian-Jewish communities in the United States. Religious Italian Jews integrated into existing Jewish communities without difficulty, especially in Sephardic communities; and those who were secular found Jewish secular institutions in the United States ready to welcome them.
Despite their small numbers, Italian American Jews have had a great impact on American life,  starting with Lorenzo Da Ponte born Emanuele Conegliano , Mozart's former librettist, opera impresario and first Professor of Italian at Columbia College in New York where he lived from to his death in From a religious point of view the figure of greatest influence is that of Rabbi Sabato Morais who, at the end of the nineteenth century, was the leader of the large Sephardic community of Philadelphia and, in , one of the founders of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, where he became the first dean.
Two other Italian Jews achieved prominence in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century: Congress —19 and —33 , and a popular Mayor of New York — A descendant on his mother's side of the great Italian rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto , La Guardia could address his constituency in both Italian and Yiddish. Under the Italian Racial Laws of , Jewish Italians, who had lived in Italy for over two millennia, were denied many civic liberties. Because they were forbidden to teach at Italian universities, some sought refuge in the United States, where they subsequently made significant contributions.
Many achieved international importance, including: After the war, four Italian-American Jews received the Nobel prize: During the era of mass immigration, rural families in Italy did not place a high value on formal education since they needed their children to help with chores as soon as they were old enough.
For many, this attitude did not change upon arriving in America, where children were expected to help support the family as soon as possible. The census revealed that those under age 45 had achieved a level of education comparable to the national average,  and within six decades of their peak immigration year, Italian Americans as a whole had equaled the national average in educational attainment.
According to the U. As a result of the large wave of Italian immigration to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Italian and Sicilian were once widely spoken in much of the U. Louis and New Orleans. Italian-language newspapers exist in many American cities, especially New York City, and Italian-language movie theatres existed in the U. L'Idea is a bilingual quarterly published in Brooklyn since Arba Sicula Sicilian Dawn is a semiannual publication of the society of the same name, dedicated to preserving the Sicilian language.
The magazine and a periodic newsletter offer prose, poetry and comment in Sicilian, with adjacent English translations. Today, prizes like the Bordighera Annual Poetry Prize,  founded by Daniela Gioseffi, Pietro Mastrandrea and Alfredo di Palchi, with support from the Sonia Rraiziss-Giop Foundation and Bordighera Press, which publishes the winners in bilingual editions, have helped to encourage writers of the diaspora to write in Italian.
Joseph Tusiani of New York and New York University,  a distinguished linguist and prize-winning poet born in Italy, paved the way for Italian works of literature in English and has published many bilingual books and Italian classics for the American audience, among them the first complete works of Michelangelo 's poems in English to be published in the United States. All of this literary endeavor has helped to foster the Italian language, along with Italian opera, of course, in the United States.
Many of these authors and their bilingual books are located throughout the internet. Author Lawrence Distasi argues that the loss of spoken Italian among the Italian American population can be tied to U. Such signs designated the languages of the Axis powers , German, Japanese, and Italian, as "enemy languages".
Shortly after the Axis powers declared war on the U. Among the Italian Americans, those who spoke Italian, who had never become citizens, and who belonged to groups that praised Benito Mussolini , were most likely to become candidates for internment. Such closures were inevitable since most of the teachers in Italian languages were interned. Despite previous decline, Italian and Sicilian are still spoken and studied by those of Italian American descent, and it can be heard in various American communities, especially among older Italian Americans.
During the late 20th and early 21st centuries, interest in Italian language and culture has surged among Italian Americans. The official Italian that is taught in colleges and universities is an amalgam of the Tuscan and Roman dialects. Because the languages spoken by Italian Americans come from a time just after the unification of Italy, their languages are in many ways archaic and resemble the southern Italian and Sicilian dialects of pre-unification Italy. Despite it being the fifth most studied language in higher education college and graduate settings throughout America,  the Italian language has struggled to maintain being an AP course of study in high schools nationwide.
It was only in that AP Italian classes were first introduced, and they were soon dropped from the national curricula after the spring of Since the program's termination in the spring of , various Italian organizations and activists have attempted to revive the course of study. She provided the impetus for the program's birth in and is currently attempting to secure funding and teachers to reinstate the program.
It is also worth noting that Italian organizations have begun fundraisers to revive AP Italian. Organizations such as the NIAF and Order Sons of Italy in America have made strides in collecting money, and are prepared to aid in the monetary responsibility any new AP Italian program would bring with it.
Moreover, Web-based Italian organizations, such as ItalianAware , have begun book donation campaigns to improve the status and representation of Italian and Italian American literature in the New York public libraries. ItalianAware aims to donate books to the Brooklyn Public Library by the end of Generoso Pope — , the owner of a chain of Italian-language newspapers in major cities, stands out as the epitome of the Italian American ethnic political broker.
He purchased additional papers in New York and Philadelphia , which became the chief source of political, social, and cultural information for the community. Pope encouraged his readers to learn English, become citizens, and vote; his goal was to instill pride and ambition to succeed in modern America. A conservative Democrat who ran the Columbus Day parade and admired Mussolini, Pope was the most powerful enemy of anti-Fascism among Italian Americans. He served as chairman of the Italian Division of the Democratic National Committee in , and helped persuade the president to take a neutral attitude over Italy's invasion of Ethiopia.
He broke with Mussolini in and enthusiastically supported the American war effort.
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His business concerns continued to prosper under New York's Democratic administrations, and in he added the Italian-language radio station WHOM to his media holdings. In the early years of the Cold War , Pope was a leading anti-Communist and orchestrated a letter-writing campaign by his subscribers to stop the Communists from winning the Italian elections in Voters did not always vote the way editorials dictated, but they depended on the news coverage.
At many smaller papers, support for Mussolini, short-sighted opportunism, deference to political patrons who were not members of the Italian-American communities, and the necessity of making a living through periodicals with a small circulation, generally weakened the owners of Italian-language newspapers when they tried to become political brokers of the Italian American vote. Donnaruma purchased Boston's La Gazzetta del Massachusetts in La Gazzetta enjoyed a wide readership in Boston's Italian community because it emphasized detailed coverage of local ethnic events and explained how events in Europe affected the community.
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Donnaruma's editorial positions, however, were frequently at odds with the sentiments of his readership. Donnaruma's conservative views and desire for greater advertising revenue prompted him to court the favor of Boston's Republican elite, to whom he pledged editorial support in return for the purchase of advertising space for political campaigns.
La Gazzetta consistently supported Republican candidates and policy positions, even when the party was proposing and passing laws to restrict Italian immigration. Nevertheless, voting records from the s—s show that Boston's Italian Americans voted heavily for Democratic candidates. Under Zito, it became one of the fiercest foes of Mussolini's fascism on the West Coast. It vigorously attacked Italy's invasion of Ethiopia and its intervention in the Spanish Civil War.
Zito's paper campaigned against alleged Italian pro-Fascist language schools of San Francisco.
A second newspaper founded by a Catholic order of priests, La Voce del Popolo also served the Metro Detroit community until the s, when that newspaper merged with La Tribuna Italiana d'America. Upon Giuliano's death in the s, his family continued the paper. The most characteristic and popular of Italian American cultural contributions has been their feasts. Anthony of Padua , which was started over years ago in Montefalcione , Italy. Perhaps the most widely known is St. Joseph 's feast day on March These feasts are much more than simply isolated events within the year. Feast Festa in Italian is an umbrella term for the various secular and religious, indoor and outdoor activities surrounding a religious holiday.
Typically, Italian feasts consist of festive communal meals, religious services, games of chance and skill and elaborate outdoor processions consisting of statues resplendent in jewels and donations. The celebration usually takes place over the course of several days, and is communally prepared by a church community or a religious organization over the course of several months.
Currently, there are more than Italian feasts celebrated throughout the United States. The largest is Festa Italiana, held in Milwaukee every summer. In the past, as to this day, an important part of Italian American culture centers around music and cuisine. During the period of mass immigration to the United States, Italians suffered widespread discrimination in housing and employment.
They were often victims of prejudice, economic exploitation, and sometimes even violence, particularly in the South. Beginning in the late s, anti-ethnic sentiment increased, and Roman Catholic churches were often vandalized and burned and Italians were attacked by mobs. In the s, it is estimated that more than 20 Italians were lynched.
Much of the anti-Italian hostility in the United States was directed at Southern Italians and Sicilians, who began immigrating to the United States in large numbers after Before that, there were relatively few Italians in North America. Italian stereotypes abounded as a means of justifying the maltreatment of the immigrants. The print media greatly contributed to the stereotyping of Italians with lurid accounts of secret societies and criminality. Between and , Italian neighborhoods were often depicted as violent and controlled by criminal networks. Two highly publicized cases illustrate the impact of these negative stereotypes:.
In , eleven Italian immigrants in New Orleans were lynched due to their alleged role in the murder of the police chief David Hennessy. This was one of the largest mass lynchings in U. The lynching took place after nine of the immigrants were tried for the murder and acquitted.
Subsequently, a mob broke into the jail where they were being held and dragged them out to be lynched, together with two other Italians who were being held in the jail at the time, but had not been accused in the killing. In , two Italian immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti , were tried for robbery and murder in Braintree , Massachusetts.
Many historians agree that they were given a very unfair and biased trial because of their anarchistic political beliefs and their Italian immigrant status. In spite of worldwide protests, Sacco and Vanzetti were eventually executed. While the vast majority of Italian immigrants brought with them a tradition of hard work and were law-abiding citizens, as documented by police statistics of the early 20th century in Boston and New York City which show that Italian immigrants had an arrest rate no greater than that of other major immigrant groups,  a very small minority brought a very different custom.
This criminal element preyed on the immigrants of the Little Italies, using intimidation and threats to extract protection money from the wealthier immigrants and shop owners, and were also involved in a multitude of other illegal activities. When the Fascists came to power in Italy, they made the destruction of the Mafia in Sicily a high priority.
Hundreds fled to America in the s and s to avoid prosecution. Prohibition , which went into effect in , proved to be an economic windfall for those in the Italian American community already involved in illegal activities, and those who had fled from Sicily. This entailed smuggling liquor into the country, wholesaling it, and then selling it through a network of outlets. While other ethnic groups were also deeply involved in these illegal ventures, and the associated violence, Chicago mobster Al Capone became the most notorious figure of the Prohibition era.
Though eventually repealed, Prohibition had a long-term effect as the spawning ground for later criminal activities. In the s, the scope of Italian-American organized crime became well known though a number of highly publicized congressional hearings that followed a police raid on a top-level meeting of racketeers in Apalachin , New York. From the earliest days of the movie industry, Italians have been portrayed as violent criminals and sociopaths. The stereotype of Italian Americans is the standardized mental image which has been fostered by the entertainment industry, especially through commercially successful movies like The Godfather , Goodfellas and Casino ; and TV programs such as The Sopranos.
The DreamWorks animated film, Shark Tale , was widely protested by virtually all major Italian-American organizations as introducing the mob genre and negative stereotyping into a children's movie. The effective stereotyping of Italian Americans as being associated with organized crime was shown by a comprehensive study of Italian American culture on film, conducted from to by the Italic Institute of America. Further, close to movies featuring Italian Americans as criminals have been produced since The Godfather , an average of nine per year.
In actuality, according to recent FBI statistics,  Italian American organized crime members and associates number approximately 3,; and, given an Italian American population estimated to be approximately 18 million, the study concludes that only one in 6, has any involvement with organized crime. Little Italies were, to a considerable extent, the result of Italophobia.
The ethnocentrism and anti-Catholicism exhibited by the earlier Anglo-Saxon and northern European settlers helped to create an ideological foundation for fixing foreignness on urban spaces occupied by immigrants. New Orleans , Louisiana was the first site of immigration of Italians and Sicilians into America in the 19th century, before Italy was a unified nation-state. This was before New York Harbor and Baltimore became the preferred destinations for Italian immigrants. In sharp contrast to the Northeast , most of the Southern states with the exception of Central and South Florida and the New Orleans area have relatively few Italian-American residents.
During the labor shortage in the 19th and early 20th centuries, planters in the Deep South did attract some Italian immigrants to work as sharecroppers , but they soon left the extreme anti-Italian discrimination and strict regimen of the rural areas for the cities or other states. The state of California has had Italian-American residents since the s.
By the s gentrification of inner city neighborhoods and the arrival of new immigrant groups caused a sharp decline in the old Italian-American and other ethnic enclaves. Today, much of the neighborhood has been absorbed and engulfed by Chinatown , as immigrants from China moved to the area.
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