Italian Americans

La Famiglia/Becoming Americans

Season 1, Episode 1 of 4

La Famiglia (1890-1910) - A brief history of the Italian Risorgimento provides the context for the great flight from the mezzogiorno region. By the late 19th century, Italians begin to put down roots and "Little Italys" spring up in urban areas throughout the U.S. But the first generation, holding onto language and culture, is branded "outsiders" and mistrusted by non-Italians. In New Orleans, this mistrust explodes into violence and 11 Italian Americans are murdered by an armed mob. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a second-generation Italian American saves his community from disaster while creating one of the greatest financial institutions in America. Becoming Americans (1910-1930) - At the turn of the 20th century, more than four million Italians immigrate to America. Leonard Covello is forced to give up his "old world" ways and adopt American mores, including changing his name; Arturo Giovannitti, a new immigrant, leads the largest labor strike of 1912, when Italian Americans push for better working conditions and wages. Italian Americans are forced to worship in the basement of churches controlled by the Irish archdiocese; anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti are executed, reinforcing stereotypes that plague Italian Americans today; Prohibition breeds a new kind of criminal who takes a shortcut to success.

Previously Aired

Day
Time
Channel
2/17/2015
9 p.m.
2/18/2015
2 a.m.
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