The New York Times Has Failed the Italian American Community

Apr 20, 2019 503

BY: Basil Russo

On March 14, 1891 a mob of anywhere from 8,000 to 20,000 people hung, shot and clubbed 11 Italian immigrants outside Parish Prison in New Orleans. This was the largest recorded mass lynching in American history. Nine of the immigrants had been charged with the murder of the city’s police chief, David Hennessy. A lawful trial had been held and the jury found none of them guilty. These lynchings were then orchestrated by the city’s political and business leaders, who chose to show their disdain for our country’s legal system by committing 11 murders of their own.

As repulsive and shocking as the mob’s actions were, the response of several newspapers, as well as some of our country’s political leaders — including future president Theodore Roosevelt — was equally offensive. Not only did they fail to condemn the lynchings and demand that those who participated be prosecuted, but also, they sought to justify and even applaud these heinous acts.

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