Sacco-Vanzetti Case

Sacco-Vanzetti Case

(săk`ō-vănzĕt`ē). On Apr. 15, 1920, a paymaster for a shoe company in South Braintree, Mass., and his guard were shot and killed by two men who escaped with over $15,000. It was thought from reports of witnesses that the murderers were Italians. Because Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti had gone with two other Italians to a garage to claim a car that local police had connected with the crime, they were arrested. Both men were anarchists and feared deportation by the Dept. of Justice. Both had evaded the army draft. On their arrest they made false statements; both carried firearms; neither, however, had a criminal record, nor was there any evidence of their having had any of the money. In July, 1921, they were found guilty after a trial in Dedham, Mass. and sentenced to death. Many then believed that the conviction was unwarranted and had been influenced by the reputation of the accused as radicals when antiradical sentiment was running high. The conduct of the trial by Judge Webster Thayer was particularly criticized. Later much of the evidence against them was discredited. In 1927 when the Massachusetts supreme judicial court upheld the denial of a new trial, protest meetings were held and appeals were made to Gov. Alvan T. Fuller. He postponed the execution and appointed a committee to advise him. On Aug. 3 the governor announced that the judicial procedure in the trial had been correct. The execution of Sacco and Vanzetti on Aug. 22, 1927, was preceded by worldwide sympathy demonstrations. They were—and continue to be—widely regarded as martyrs. However, new ballistics tests conducted with modern equipment in 1961 seemed to prove conclusively that the pistol found on Sacco had been used to murder the guard. This has led some authorities to conclude that Sacco was probably guilty of the crime, but that Vanzetti was innocent. The case was the subject of Maxwell Anderson's play Gods of the Lightning and is reflected in his Winterset. It is also the subject of Upton Sinclair's novel Boston and of sonnets by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Bibliography

See F. Frankfurter, The Case of Sacco and Vanzetti (1927, repr. 1961); G. L. Joughin and E. M. Morgan, The Legacy of Sacco and Vanzetti (1948, repr. 1964); R. H. Montgomery, Sacco-Vanzetti: The Murder and the Myth (1960, repr. 1965); D. Felix, Protest: Sacco and Vanzetti and the Intellectuals (1965); H. B. Ehrmann, The Case That Will Not Die (1969); F. Quesada, Sacco and Vanzetti (1976); W. Young and D. E. Kaiser, Postmortem: New Evidence in the Case of Sacco and Vanzetti (1985); B. Watson, Sacco and Vanzetti (2007).

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References in periodicals archive ?
When I went to Boston the last time in October 1928, I was completely naive about the Sacco-Vanzetti case, having accepted the defense propaganda entirely.
The documentary record is the multi-volume The Sacco-Vanzetti Case: Transcript of the Record of the Trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti in the Courts of Massachusetts and Subsequent Proceedings, 1920-1927 (Mamaroneck, NY: Appel, 1969); Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, The Letters of Sacco and Vanzetti (New York: Penguin, 2007).
This resource contains 45 primary source documents from 1920s America on the return to normal life after World War I; the Sacco-Vanzetti case; prohibition; the age of President Calvin Coolidge; women's life, including the right to vote and the development of birth control; African Americans; the Scopes trial involving the ban on teaching evolution in public schools; international treaty negotiations (the Conference on Naval Disarmament and the Kellogg-Briand Pact); President Herbert Hoover; and new trends in industry, travel, and culture, such as aviation, automobiles, and The Jazz Singer.
That was after March 5, 1927, when he submitted an affidavit about Judge Webster Thayer, who had presided over the Sacco-Vanzetti case a few years before.
was engaged in a "War on Terror." The first War on Terror actually occurred early in the 20* century; a reaction to the threat of anarchic terror and Soviet schemes, it took place domestically in response to the unsolved Wall Street bombing and the Sacco-Vanzetti case, and the government's infamous Palmer Raids yielded few concrete results and had dire effects on civil liberties.
Watson, a journalist who has written fine histories of the labor movement and the Sacco-Vanzetti case, records the courageous efforts of college students in 1964 who risked their lives to assure that all citizens were accorded the promise of American life.
The Sacco-Vanzetti case is probably the best-known example.
Chapter Nine, "Hope in Hard Times," begins with the Sacco-Vanzetti case, continues with the very different approaches to black segregation of Marcus Garvey and W.E.B.
Many people cried and sobbed and shouted, "Justice is dead." That is my personal recollection of the Sacco-Vanzetti case. But now I have to say that Sacco and Vanzetti were common people, a simple shoemaker and a poor fishpeddler, and yet they were heroic.
Stribling and Jessie Redmon Fauset"; Genevieve Fabre, "Zora Neale Hurston's Challenges to Her Time"; Libiane Kerjan, "A Jewish Cantor in Black Face: Mixed Guises on Broadway"; Alfred Horning, "Ludwig Lewisohn, Charles Reznikoff, Michael Gold"; Hans-Joachim Lang, "The Menorah Journal Crisis and the End of the 1920s"; Catherine Collomp, "Ethnic Identity, Americanization and Internationalization in the Jewish Labor Movement in the 1920s"; Helene Cristol, "The Ethnic Factor in the Sacco-Vanzetti Case"; Hartmut Keil, "The Impact of World War I on the German American Community in the 1920s"; Jean-Pierre Martin, "Prohibition and Ethnicity"; and Stephan Palmie, "The Other Within: American Anthropology and the Study of Ethnic Minorities in the 1920s."
The Sacco-Vanzetti case began in 1920 with a payroll robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts, that left a paymaster and a guard dead.
"I got to thinking about the Sacco-Vanzetti case," Shahn writes.