Woke Committee Attacks An Ethnic Minority in Andover ~ VALLEY PATRIOT EDITORIAL (5-23)


A mob of thousands, primarily white men, surrounded a jail in a southern city with calls for the death of 9 prisoners, 6 of which were just acquitted after a murder trial with 3 others receiving a mistrial.
The mob included many notable citizens, with future mayors and governors among the crowd as they called for their own version of justice after our legal system already found the majority of them not guilty of their alleged crimes.

The crowd would not be satisfied until these 9 men were put to death. Part of the mob breached the prison gates and dragged not just the 9 men they were after, but others from the same ethnic minority from their cells, beating, shooting, and mutilating them while dragging them out of the jail.

The 9 men, and two others were hung, and the mob cheered at the display of the mutilated bodies. It was March 14, 1891, the city was New Orleans, and the victims were Italian American immigrants. Italian immigrants poured into Louisiana in the aftermath of the Civil War, performing the labor that had previously been done by the recently freed slaves. They worked hard, were a tightknit and religious group with strong families and internal support systems, but were not welcomed as true equals, and looked upon as ‘less than’ other white Americans.

What’s more, they didn’t support the Jim Crowlaws used to continue to oppress the southern Blacks. While this lynching was the worst, and the most notable instance of violence against the Italian American community, it was far from the only time that Italian immigrants, especially southern Italians, and Sicilians, suffered at the hands of their fellow Americans, that suffering wasn’t limited to just violence or southern cities either. In publications such as the New York Times, Italian immigrants were slandered even being identified as “links in a descending chain of evolution” and the story of another Italian lynching victim in Mississippi was called “Dago Joe.”

The editors of the Times wrote “There has never been since New York was founded so low and ignorant a class among the immigrants who poured in here as the Southern Italians who have been crowding our docs recently” and other articles lamented that their children were to be educated among the children of more decent Americans.

The lynching caused a great strain in the relationship between the United States and Italy, and it brought to the forefront the issue of the treatment and persecution of Italian Americans. Faced with such an outrage, and in advance of the 400th anniversary of Columbus voyage to America, President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed that Columbus Day shall be celebrated “as a general holiday for the people of the United States,” but the proclamation did more than just create a new holiday, it sought to help weave the Italian American community into the very fabric of our great nation.
It was, and continues to be, a source of pride among Italian Americans and is a chance to reflect on the great contributions of not just Columbus, but of all Italian Americans to our country’s history.

Columbus may not have been the first to ‘discover’ America, and he didn’t land in the continental United States, but what he did do was permanently reunite the native population, who originally came across the Bering Strait land bridge from Asia and were cut off from the rest of human kind until Columbus, and those who followed, permanently reunited our civilizations.

Italians-Americans make up the 7th largest census reported ethnic group in our nation, with many living in the Merrimack Valley. They manned factories, built roads, bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure.

A fiercely patriotic group, many Italian Americans served in the United States military during WWII where they fought against their native (or near native) country. Through the celebration of Columbus Day, and their many contributions, Italians are now seen as an equal, contributing ethnic group in our society…unless, of course, you are at a DEI commission meeting in Andover, Massachusetts.

Recently, the DEI commission (as ironic as this is given the history of Columbus Day and the history surrounding the treatment of Italian immigrants in our nation’s history) has requested that the Town of Andover ‘cancel’ Columbus Day, and instead, replace it with Indigenous People’s Day.

While they have acknowledged that perhaps a day to recognize the contributions of Italian Americans may be appropriate, they are seeking to end a holiday that does essentially that.

Many have not heard of Andover’s DEI commission and it is unfortunate that their first high profile initiative is to tearing down what was one of the most important ‘DEI initiatives’ in history, (despite it not being called that at the time), instead of building up the sense of community and being inclusive of all, which should be their core mission.

Italian Americans, The Valley Patriot included, find this offensive and anything but “inclusive.”

While we support a day to celebrate “Indigenous People,” (even though they were immigrants as well) we suggest any of the other 364 viable options, including August 9th, a day that was established as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations 41 years ago.

We hope that the Board of Selectmen and the good people of Andover see this initiative of the DEI commission for what it is, a blatant attack on an ethnic group that has suffered decades of attacks. We also hope they will put a stop to it. That is, if the people of Andover truly believe in Diversity, Equity, and INCLUSION! ◊