Italian anarchists Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed on this day in 1927.
Why were Sacco and Vanzetti executed?
Sacco and Vanzetti were executed for the murder and robbery of a shoe factory paymaster and his guard in South Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1920. However, their guilt remained a subject of intense controversy and debate. The case transformed into cause célèbre and came to symbolize issues of political bias, immigrant rights, and social injustice. Many believed that they were convicted and executed based on their anarchist beliefs and Italian heritage, rather than concrete evidence of their guilt in the crime.
Was there evidence to support Sacco and Vanzetti's innocence?
Supporters of Sacco and Vanzetti argued that there was significant evidence pointing to their innocence. They claimed that the ballistics tests were flawed, that the witnesses were unreliable, and that the evidence against them was weak. However, others believed that the evidence was sufficient to establish guilt. Numerous appeals, campaigns, and investigations were conducted in subsequent years to reexamine their case and seek a posthumous pardon. However, these efforts did not result in a formal exoneration.
How are Sacco and Vanzetti remembered today?
Sacco and Vanzetti are remembered as symbols of injustice and political persecution. They have become iconic figures representing the struggles of immigrants and the dangers of prejudice and bias within the criminal justice system. Their case continues to be studied and debated, both as a historical event and as a reflection of broader social and political issues.