After having established themselves in the United States for more than a hundred years, the Italian American cultural community and its cultural and literary narrative are well documented. Yet, despite the accomplishments of famous sports icons like Joe DiMaggio, or the perennial portrayal of the Mafia in popular culture, one chapter of this narrative continues to be noticeably absent; that is the decade-long appreciation that many in this community had for Italian fascism in the 1930s. The end result was that many poor immigrants gave up their wedding bands and other golden jewelry to support Mussolini’s war in Ethiopia. In Providence, there was even a street named after Mussolini, which was quickly renamed after Italy declared war on the United States. Once hostilities began, this chapter of the Italian American narrative was either disowned or dropped altogether. Notwithstanding, the reasons for subduing this part of the Italian American story (along with how the community initially became attracted to fascism) are not considered “just a simple matter.” This paper will examine the many complex, often contradictory reasons which led to its inception and demise.
|Keywords:||Italian American, Cultural and Literary Narrative, Fascism, Cultural Apocrypha|
Professor of Humanities, Humanities, Capital Community College, Hartford, Connecticut, USA
Director of Libraries, Central Connecticut State University, Adjunct Assistant Professor in History, Capital Community College, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut, USA
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