Stories Of Intolerance

The history of Italian emigration is full of tragic cases of xenophobia, both in Europe and America, particularly in the last decade of the 19th century. Figures speak for themselves.

In the United States, in 1891, there were 11 lynchings in New Orleans; in 1893, one lynching in Denver; in 1895, 6 murders in Walsenburg; in 1896, 5 lynchings in Tallulah. In Europe, in 1893, many died during the mass brawl at Aigues Mortes, in France; in 1896, there were 3 murders in Zurich. Many other incidents left victims maimed and injured throughout the great period of emigration.

The common factors behind these episodes were racial and cultural prejudice, fear of economic consequences as a result of massive immigration, and the general political situation of the countries concerned.

Many defamatory cartoons in newspapers and magazines from a variety of countries show clear hostility towards the Italians, who were discriminated like blacks, working at the hardest jobs and living in the poorest conditions.

La Tribuna magazine, September 8, 1893. The slaughter at Aigues Mortes
La Tribuna magazine, September 8, 1893. The slaughter at Aigues Mortes
USA, Louisiana, New Orleans, 1891. Mass killing of Italians. The dead belonged to the Sicilian community and were simply considered mafiosi. Enraged citizens took them out of the prison where they had been locked up on a charge of killing the city police commander, and slaughtered them
USA, Louisiana, New Orleans, 1891. Mass killing of Italians. The dead belonged to the Sicilian community and were simply considered mafiosi. Enraged citizens took them out of the prison where they had been locked up on a charge of killing the city police commander, and slaughtered them
La Domenica del Corriere magazine, April 14, 1903.  The young image-maker Aristide Borelli was beaten up by some passers-by who also destroyed his basket of statuettes
La Domenica del Corriere magazine, April 14, 1903. The young image-maker Aristide Borelli was beaten up by some passers-by who also destroyed his basket of statuettes
A leaflet taking Sacco and Vanzetti’s side, distributed a few days before their execution
A leaflet taking Sacco and Vanzetti’s side, distributed a few days before their execution