Bartolomeo Vanzetti and Nicola Sacco, Manacled Together Digital History ID 2727|
Credit: Library of Congress
Media type: photograph
Museum Number: LC-USZ62-124547
Annotation: In 1921, Bartolomeo Vanzetti (left) and Nicola Sacco were convicted in a trial that was marred by prejudice against Italians, immigrants, and radical beliefs. The evidence was ambiguous as to the pairs' guilt or innocence, but the trial was a sham. The prosecution played heavily on the pairs' radical beliefs; the men were kept in an iron cage during the trial. The jury foreman muttered unflattering stereotypes about Italians. In his instructions to the jury, the presiding judge urged the jury to remember their "true American citizenship."
The pair was electrocuted in 1927. As the guards adjusted his straps, Vanzetti said in broken English:
"I wish to tell you I am innocent and never connected with any crime... I wish to forgive some people for what they are now doing to me."
Today, many historians now believe Sacco was probably guilty and Vanzetti was innocent but that the evidence was insufficient to convict either one.
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