The Real Field of Dreams: How Baseball Brought Italians Into the Mainstream

Jun 05, 2019 346

Life in the United States during the first half of the 20th century was difficult for Italian-Americans, who had darker complexions, curlier hair and were Catholic. They were subjected to bias and discrimination in employment, education and housing, making it hard to assimilate.

Italians were stereotypically portrayed as organ grinders, fruit peddlers and knife-wielding criminals, and referred to as “dagos” and “wops,” occasionally even in daily newspapers. Some of the ill treatment was notorious. Lynching used in the South to terrorize African-Americans didn’t spare Italians, with 11 immigrants strung up on a single day by an armed mob in New Orleans in 1891. Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, in a 1921 trial that received world-wide attention, were railroaded into the electric chair despite recanted testimony, sparking protests in major cities throughout the United States and Europe.

Read more


You may be interested