Passion remains for Sacco, Vanzetti cause

Almost 90 years after the infamous Sacco and Vanzetti case roiled the streets of Boston, local anarchists are trying to erect a monument to the convicted killers near the site of their North End funeral.  

Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed seven years after the armed robbery and murder of two payroll guards in 1921. Many believe the Italian-born immigrants and anarchists were innocent.

“We look upon them as figures whose politics we admire,” said Bob D’Attilio of the Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society, which on Saturday screened rare footage from the Sacco and Vanzetti funeral.

A plaque commemorating the case was refused by state and city officials three times before the Boston Public Library hung it near its rare book room in 1979.  

“Nobody really sees it there,” D’Attilio said of the piece by Mount Rushmore’s sculptor. “We think it should be where the funeral was held in the North End, which drew the biggest crowd in Boston in the 20th century.

“[The plaque] was created just after their execution in ’27. It was cast in a special bronze because it had to resist blows from axe handles.”

Beyond preserving Sacco and Vanzetti’s memory, the group lobbies against the death penalty, the persecution of political dissidents and immigrants.

“Boston needs some memory of its radical past,” D’Attilio said. “Many of the things that happened in the time of Sacco and Vanzetti case are happening right now.”


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