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South of Rome–West of Ellis Island

Sicily Travelers: L. Franchetti (Northern Italian Bourgeois) vs. Booker Taliaferro Washington (American born Slave)

Tom Verso (October 13, 2011)
Leopoldo Franchetti & Booker Taliaferro Washington

When Leopoldo Franchetti, the rich and politically influential northern Italian, went to Sicily in 1876, he was looking for members of his socio-economic class – the bourgeoisie. Not seeing ‘his kind of people’, and more importantly the ‘political-economy’ they thrive on, he left contemptuous and bent on the Piedmontization of the Island.... When Booker Taliaferro Washington – born plantation slave, ‘liberated’ to the salt furnaces and coal mines of the Jim Crow lynch’n South, and founder of the Tuskegee vocational trades school – went to Sicily in 1910, he saw ‘his kind of people’: incredibly hard workers, skilled craftsmen, virtuously perseverant and self-disciplined, and viciously exploited by Franchetti’s ‘kind of people’. After Franchetti’s visit to Sicily, the Piedmontista “had-their-way-with-her”, and blamed it on the Mafia (classic “blame the victim”). Sadly, present day Piedmontista historians like Dickie and Moe present the Franchetti mythology to uninformed Sicilian Americans as the reality of their Patria Isola.

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