Neither ICE nor storms of controversy stops South Philly’s Le Virtù from fighting for immigrants

Jul 25, 2019 184

BY: Will Bunch

Whether anyone ever told the late Alfonso Cretarola to “go back to where he came from” — that would be the Abruzzo region of Italy, from which he emigrated to the United States in 1909 — is a question we’ll never be able to answer. But his grandson says the Italian immigrant was definitely ordered once to get out of town — in Pennsylvania coal country, where he was trying to work as a laborer in the 1920s.

“Things were not easy," Francis Cratil-Cretarola says of his grandfather, who eventually found home in a small Italian-American enclave in Reading, changed his name to Francis Cratil and became a naturalized American citizen in 1943. “Our last name isn’t Cratil because he was someone who was wanted from the get-go.”

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