The Way It Was: Italian America in the 1950s

Jul 06, 2019 1884

BY: Tony Traficante

They came from the “old” country—that’s what the immigrants called Italy. As a first-generation Italian American, of the 40s and 50s, I have some emotive memories growing up Italian. I remember them well. The thing I most cherished about “growing up Italian,” was the closeness and camaraderie shared among family and friends.

One has to understand the difficulties of Italian immigrants. In the early migration, most came from the southern regions of Italy, driven here by famine, unemployment, natural disasters, and, yes, discrimination from their own. They hoped for a better way of life. What they got was more discrimination and unemployment. They were ridiculed, hung from the gallows, and labeled enemies of the state. 

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