Author Archives: Adam Milat-Meyer

Vito Marcantonio Commemoration 2016

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Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954): Fourth Annual Commemoration

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) invites one-and-all to attend “Vito Marcantonio: Fourth Annual Commemoration,” which will be held @ 3:00 PM, on Sunday August 28th, outside City Hall Park across from the Woolworth Building. We are assembling there because it is nearby the site where, at fifty-one, the East Harlem Congressman fell dead. After the event, attendees will retire to a restaurant two blocks distance away.

The one-hour-long program will feature the reading of “The People’s Proclamation for Vito Marcantonio.” In addition, there will be dramatizations by Roberto Ragone and LuLu Pascale. Gerald Meyer will deliver a eulogy. Elected officials are invited to attend.

Vito Marcantonio (1902-1954), who represented his community in the House of Representatives for seven terms (1934-1936, 1938-1950), was elected to office as a leader of the American Labor Party. Through his activities, in and outside of Congress, Marc, as he liked to be called, earned the status of national spokesperson for American Progressives. He became an unrivaled leader in the struggle for racial equality, the rights of the foreign-born, and against McCarthyism in all of its ugly manifestations.

Marcantonio was devoted to the cause of Puerto Rico’s independence. In 1950, declaring his need to “vote his conscience,” Vito Marcantonio was the sole member of Congress to vote against United States participation in what he termed, the civil war raging in Korea. Vilified and slandered in his life time, Marc’s East Harlem’s mostly Italian-American, Puerto Ricans, and African-American constituents remained fiercely loyal. However, in 1950, when confronted with a “regular” Democrat who was also endorsed by the Republican and Liberal parties, Marcantonio was defeated.

Marc was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, a nondenominational cemetery located in the northeast Bronx, because Cardinal Spellman refused to allow him to be buried in a Catholic cemetery. Subsequently, Vito Marcantonio’s colossal work for all those shut out of participation in the American dream has been erased from American history. The Vito Marcantonio Forum is dedicated to righting this wrong by bringing information to the American progressive community and through the production of creative works. We invite you to join us in the work that will materialize this goal.

Italian News Mention of the VMF East Harlem Walking Event

Renato Cantore wrote a great piece on last year’s walking tour that you can see here:

Presto a East Harlem la “Vito Marcantonio Street”

Vito Marcantonio Forum Walking Tour 2015

Gerald Meyer speaking to members of the walking tour. Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito is on the left of the picture.

 

Leonard Covello Panel discussion at the Left Forum 2016

VITO MARCANTONIO FORUM Left Forum panel event 2016We are excited to be back at the Left Forum. 2016 looks like an action-packed lineup practically guarantees this year’s Forum will not disappoint. If you are interested in attending, you must purchase a ticket from the Left Forum. You can try calling them (good luck) at the Left Forum Office at (212) 817-2002.

This year’s Forum event is being held at

 John Jay College of Criminal Justice
524 W 59th St, New York, NY 10019

The panel discussion and presentation will be informative and entertaining — BELIEVE THAT!!!

Here is the program:

VMF Left Forum panel event 2016 program

ITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE book presentation

VMF AUTHOR SERIES presents

ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTUREITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE, 1890-1940, by Marcella Bencivenni 

Wednesday, May 18th 2016, 5:00-6:45 PM

Prof. Gerald Meyer will chair a discussion of ITALIAN AMERICAN RADICAL CULTURE, 1890-1940, by Marcella Bencivenni. Italian/English bilingual readings of Arturo Giovanitti’s poetry by VMF members: Gil Fagiani, Maria Lisella, & Roberto  Ragone.

Where: NYPL Mulberry St. Branch,  10 Jersey St., NY, corner of Mulberry & Prince Sts., one block south of Houston St.

Books available for purchase.
Free admission, light  refreshments served

marcella bencivenni

Author Marcella Bencivenni

VMF AUTHOR SERIES
This event is co-hosted with Italian American Writers Association (IAWA)

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is an educational organization dedicated to preserving the history of the radical political tradition of East Harlem, the cultural backdrop of Italian Harlem and El Barrio and increasing awareness of the American Labor Party that Marcantonio led for years; and the critical role of the Left that rallied to Marcantonio.

The Italian American Writers Association will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2016. Since 1991, IAWA has given voice to writers through its literary series every second Saturday of the months. Readings begin with an Open Mic: IAWA-East is held even months at Sidewalk Café and IAWA-West continues at Cornelia Street Café on odd months.

Website: iawa.net
BLOG: italian american writers café http://newsite.iitaly.org/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/italianamericanwritersassociation

Video of Nelson A. Denis book presentation of War Against All Puerto Ricans

Vito Marcantonio Forum founding member, David M. Giglio, has produced another masterpiece. It’s important that people see it, so please share it on social media, email blasts, and whatever platform you prefer.

Nelson A. Denis’ War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony,  has excellent reviews and it is highly recommended that you purchase the book here.

It’s difficult to describe how moving Denis is… perhaps this picture of the crowd on hand at the event will give you an idea of how enthralling each performance was:

vito marcantonio forum with nelson denis book presentation crowd shot 2016

vito marcantonio forum with nelson denis book presentation crowd shot 2016

ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTURE by Marcella Bencivenni

Join the Vito Marcantonio Forum Wednesday May 18th, 2016 from 5pm-6:45pm at the Mulberry St Public Library at 10 Jersey St (bet Mulberry and Lafayette Sts), New York, NY 10012 | FREE EVENT | Light refreshments served

Marcella Bencivenni’s Book Presentation

ITALIAN IMMIGRANT RADICAL CULTUREItalian Immigrant Radical Culture: The Idealism of the Sovversivi in the United States, 1890-1940

287 pages

23 halftones

May, 2011

ISBN: 9780814791035

Maligned by modern media and often stereotyped, Italian Americans possess a vibrant, if largely forgotten, radical past. In Italian Immigrant Radical Culture, Marcella Bencivenni delves into the history of the sovversivi, a transnational generation of social rebels, and offers a fascinating portrait of their political struggle as well as their milieu, beliefs, and artistic creativity in the United States.

marcella bencivenni

Marcella Bencivenni

As early as 1882, the sovversivi founded a socialist club in Brooklyn. Radical organizations then multiplied and spread across the country, from large urban cities to smaller industrial mining areas. By 1900, thirty official Italian sections of the Socialist Party along the East Coast and countless independent anarchist and revolutionary circles sprang up throughout the nation. Forming their own alternative press, institutions, and working class organizations, these groups created a vigorous movement and counterculture that constituted a significant part of the American Left until World War II.

Italian Immigrant Radical Culture compellingly documents the wide spectrum of this oppositional culture and examines the many cultural and artistic forms it took, from newspapers to literature and poetry to theater and visual art. As the first cultural history of Italian American activism, it provides a richer understanding of the Italian immigrant experience while also deepening historical perceptions of radical politics and culture.

REVIEWS

  • Italian Immigrant Radical Culture not only makes an important contribution to the history of the Italian-American left but, more broadly, reminds us of the importance of the cultural and literary dimension of radical politics in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century.”

    —Fraser Ottanelli, Professor of History, University of South Florida

  • “A welcome introduction to the poorly understood immigrant sovversivi, whose ideological commitments to revolution and emancipation as often found expression in poetry, theater, and the arts as on the picket line and in the radical press.”

    —Donna Gabaccia, University of Minnesota

  • “Utilizing a broad spectrum of materials from Italian archives and American repositories, Bencivenni penetrates deeply into a hitherto unexplored dimension of the lost world of Italian immigrant radicalism—its culture. With acute insight and intellectual sophistication, she provides a superb analysis of radical working-class poetry, drama, and art, together with vivid biographical portraits of principal contributors, both men and women, and their struggles against capitalist exploitation and fascist domination. Her book is a must for any scholar or general reader drawn to these fascinating subjects.”

    —Nunzio Pernicone, author of Italian Anarchism, 1864-1892

  • “Anyone interested in the topic will benefit from Bencivenni’s deep understanding of her subject, her exhaustive research, and her clear organization and writing.”

    —R.J. Goldstein, Choice

  • “Bencivenni has written an impressive book that nicely complements existing studies on Italian immigrants. It deserves a wide audience.”

    —Mike Rosenow, H-Net Reviews

  • “Marcella Bencivenni contributes to the growing literature of the sovversivi (subversives) but with a new twist… Bencivenni’s superb analysis of the importance of the cultural and literal dimension of radical politics and her biographical portraits of its stars ensure that the works of these men and women will have a lasting legacy in American radical history.”

    —Diane C. Vecchio, Furman University

  • “Bencivenni’s superb analysis of the importance of the cultural and literary dimension of radical politics and her biographical portraits of its stars ensure that the works of these men and women will have a lasting legacy in American radical history.”

    —Diane C. Vecchio, The Journal of American History

  • “A great book that will benefit well-established scholars, newly minted Ph.D.’s, and graduate students thinking about distinct avenues of research.”

    —Caroline Merithew, Italian American Review

  • “Sheds illuminating light on a part of that history that is often overlooked, and in doing so revitalizes a radical tradition.”

    —Stefan Bosworth, Science & Society

WAR ON ALL PUERTO RICANS: REVOLUTION AND TERROR IN AMERICA’S COLONY

VMF’s AUTHORS SERIES PRESENTS:

NELSON DENIS and HIS BEST SELLING

WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS: REVOLUTION AND TERROR IN AMERICA’S COLONY
Wednesday, April 6, 2016, 5-6:45 PM  

Vito Marcantonio Forum presents a book presentation on war against all puerto ricans by nelson a denis

WHAT:
VMF Authors Series panel discussion followed by Q&A

WHO:
Nelson Denis
discusses WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony

Gil Fagiani, VMF co-founder, will moderate discussion. Roberto Ragone, will deliver dramatic readings of Marcantonio’s speeches about Puerto Rico

WHERE:
NYPL Mulberry St. Branch,  10 Jersey St., NY, between Mulberry & Lafayette Sts., one block south of Houston St.

WAR AGAINST ALL PUERTO RICANS BY NELSON A DENISADMISSION:
Free Admission, light refreshments will be served

The Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) is an educational organization dedicated to preserving the history of the radical political tradition of East Harlem, the cultural backdrop of Italian Harlem and El Barrio and increasing awareness of the American Labor Party that Marcantonio led for years; and the critical role of the Left that rallied to Marcantonio. 

LuLu LoLo Pascale MAS Podcast Interview

LuLu LoLo Pascale, one of our founding members, mentions Vito Marcantonio in a breakthrough, in-depth podcast interview. She also talks about her many endeavors and longtime dedication to projects like #RememberTheTriangle and much, more.

It couldn’t have been said better in the notes for the show:

LuLu LoLo PascaleNew York City has over a hundred monuments honoring specific men who’ve changed the course of history and made significant contributions to our communities. But guess how many women are up on pedestals in this city? Here’s a sad hint: you can count them on your fingers. One hand, even. Performance artist, playwright, and overall activist LuLu LoLo is on a mission to change that. In this Women’s History Month podcast episode, Lulu tells us about her latest venture, “Where are the Women? A Call for Monuments of Women in NYC,” and reminisces about growing up in East Harlem, a neighborhood where strong women (including the city’s first Puerto Rican librarian) graced every block.

Annual Sagra del Libro Book Fair in Little Italy, NYC

Gerald Meyer at IAWA and Order Sons of Italy in America Book Fair February 26 2016

Dr. Gerald Meyer, VMF co-chairman, giving a talk about his book, Vito Marcantonio, Radical Politician 1902-1954.

Friday, February 26, 2016
The Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) kicked off its 25th anniversary with the Sagra del Libro Book Fair. This event represents an historic collaboration between the Order of the Sons of Italy, Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge #285 and Italian American Writers Association (IAWA) that was initiated by IAWA’s recently departed Board Member and friend, Emelise Aleandri and was, in fact, dedicated to her memory.

All, not just Italian American authors, publishers, literary event organizers and artists displayed, read out loud and sold their books, materials, and services at the Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge #285 at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, often referred to as the San Gennaro Feast Church at 113 Baxter Street in the heart of Little Italy, New York City.

In past years on a Sunday in May most bookstores remained open in Italy to support and promote its writers. This initiative was called “Celebrazione dei Libri” (Celebration of Books). IAWA’s Sagra del Libro continues in the spirit of that movement by celebrating Italian-American literary culture and including other cultures as well.

Authors Anna fillameno with Gigi Sssante and Maria Lisella

Authors Anna Filameno with Gigi Assante and Maria Lisella

Besides the co-sponsors — the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA), and the Order of the Sons of Italy in America, other organizations and their members attended.

Eight Vito Marcantonio Forum (VMF) members participated, five of whom are published authors, who aside from retailing their published works, took turns at the podium giving talks about their respective research.

Side by side with VMF was the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition representative, Rose Imperato, who brought flyers about the annual commemoration event scheduled for Wednesday, March 23 at the sight of one of the worst industrial tragedies in U.S. history. On March 25, volunteers are invited to Chalk for the Triangle Workers. Visit http://rememberthetrianglefire.org/events/month/

Gil Fagiani and Maria Lisella are founding members of both the VMF and along with Bob Agnoli who chaired the Sagra are also Board members of IAWA. The Church of the Most Precious Blood generously provided the venue for the event.

Maria Lisella
@MLJourneys
VMF Vice President