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A Great Conspiracy against Our RaceItalian Immigrant Newspapers and the Construction of Whiteness in the Early 20th Century$
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Peter G. Vellon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814788486

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814788486.001.0001

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The Education of Italian Americans in Matters of Color

The Education of Italian Americans in Matters of Color

(p.79) 4 The Education of Italian Americans in Matters of Color
A Great Conspiracy against Our Race

Peter G. Vellon

NYU Press

This chapter investigates how the Italian American press negotiated and digested the American racial system by examining its discussion of Italian and African American issues. In response to American violence against Italian immigrants, especially lynching, mainstream newspapers such as Il Progresso resorted to the experience of African Americans as a frame of reference to understand their own racialization. These newspapers stridently criticized self-appointed standard-bearers of white America who claimed ancestry from Anglo-Saxon or Nordic racial stock for questioning the Italian race while hypocritically oppressing African Americans as a consequence of skin color and African ancestry. In addition, empathetic news stories about issues such as segregation and race riots were ubiquitous within the Italian American press alongside sympathetic commentary.

Keywords:   Italian American press, American racial system, African American issues, African Americans, Il Progresso, racialization, Italian immigrants

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