Check out our video promoting the 60th Anniversary commemoration of the death of legendary Congressman Vito Marcantonio (2 min and 42 seconds)
Woodlawn Cemetery’s chief historian, Susan Olsen, will conduct a walking tour after visiting Marcantonio’s gravesite, where there will speeches by the world’s top experts on the late, great congressman. Don’t miss it!!!
Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954): A Synopsis of Large Life
Vito Marcantonio was undeniably America’s most electorally successful radical politician of the last century.
Living his entire life in East Harlem, he built a coalition joining the Italian American, Puerto Rican, and African American communities.
From 1934 to 1950, he won seven electoral terms; initially running as a maverick Republican, in 1938 he declared himself a member of the American Labor Party.
Marc became one of the most active and effective members of the US House of Representatives. He defended Italian Americans against discrimination. He was the floor leader for major civil rights legislation, submitted five bills for Puerto Rico’s independence, led the fight against the Cold War, championed the rights of the foreign-born, and rallied to prevent the passage of the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act. During his last term, he cast the sole dissenting votes against both the Korean War and the contempt citations handed down by the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
At the age of fifty-one, Marcantonio fell dead of a massive heart attack just steps from New York’s City Hall.
Marc traveled with a crucifix in his pocket, was known among his constituents as “Our Marc” and “The Bread of the Poor,” yet Cardinal Spellman denied him a Catholic burial.
Dr. W.E.B. DuBois and Marcantonio’s mentor, Dr. Leonard Covello, served as honorary pall bearers. Paul Robeson issued a statement eulogizing Marc.
Marcantonio’s wife, Miriam Sanders, and closest associates organized The Vito Marcantonio Memorial, which published I Vote My Conscience, a book of his speeches, writings and debates, created by his close associate, Annette T. Rubinstein.
Following a funeral procession through East Harlem that saw thousands lining the streets to bid him farewell, Marcantonio was laid to rest near the grave of his other mentor, Fiorello LaGuardia, in New York’s non-denominational historical Woodlawn Cemetery in the Northwest Bronx.
Fifty nine years later, members of the Vito Marcantonio Forum paid tribute to this political leader by visiting his grave site to honor his fights for justice.
Dedicated to creating awareness about his life and accomplishments, the Vito Marcantonio Forum is encouraging even more people to visit his resting place this year on Saturday, August 9, 2014, when the group commemorates the 60th Anniversary of his death. Marcantonio is a model for politicians, who face many of the same issues today.