Thursday, March 09, 2006
The Italians and the Greeks: proximate but distant, nonetheless
Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless telegraphy, about 1900. Marconi was from Bologna.
Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998), a singer & actor, was from a Sicilian immigrant family. He was raised in Hoboken, NJ.
Sketch a map which shows the steamship journey of the Italian immigrant from Palermo to Ellis Island and thence to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Between the 1890's and 1920's miilions of Italians from Sicily and the south arrived in the US.
Typical Italian-American occupations: dishwasher, ditch digger, seamstress. Italians were shunted into the worst housing and jobs across America. Their stereotype was not nice: they were supposedly oily, ineducable and prone to felonies. Indeed, some Sicilians brought organized crime with them in the Mafia, aka la cosa nostra ("our thing").
In Shreveport Stan's records was founded by Stanley Lewis, an Italian-American who rose from poverty to become a millionaire in the jukebox and record sales business. In partnership with Chess records, Chicago, he produced regional blues, gospel and rock records. His biggest hits were "Suzie Q," and "Judy in Disguise." (Dale Hawkins and John Fred & the Playboys)
Sketch a version of the map of Italy and Greece.
Which one preceded the other and had the earlier high culture?