The Innocent 11 and the Creation of Columbus Day

Mar 14, 2022 571

BY: Basil M. Russo

On March 14, 1891, prominent New Orleans citizens, including future mayors and governors, led America’s largest-ever lynch mob into the darkest pages of U.S. history. Holding torches, rifles and rope, this mob of vigilantes stormed into Parish Prison and pulled out 11 Italian Americans. Thousands assembled outside the jail and cheered as the wrongfully accused were riddled with bullets, hanged and ripped apart for souvenirs.

The horror of that night shocked the world, but today one will be hard-pressed to find the story in high school or college textbooks. It was the worst of more than 40 lynchings carried out against Italian Americans between the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

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