Far from resolving the case, the deaths of Sacco and Vanzetti on Aug. 23, 1927, have become a touchstone for generations of activists, historians, and citizens still debating what lessons can be learned from their trial.
Advertisement Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested several weeks after a payroll clerk and a security guard were shot and killed during an armed robbery at the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree in 1920.
The 1921 trial, which came during a time of heightened suspicion of immigration from Europe and a specific fear of Italian anarchists, drew international attention.
It includes an inscription from a letter written by Vanzetti that reads: ‘‘What I wish more than all in this last hour of agony is that our case and our fate may be understood in their real being and serve as a tremendous lesson to the forces of freedom so that our suffering and death will not have been in vain.’’
AdvertisementIn this Aug. 23, 1927, photo, a crowd gathers in Union Square in New York a few hours before Italian immigrants and avowed anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were put to death in Boston.—AP, File
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