Social Issues Trailblazer Vito Marcantonio Honored at Woodlawn Cemetery

Vito Marcantonio

Vito Marcantonio

Yesterday the Vito Marcantonio Forum held the 60th anniversary of the of Congressman Vito Marcantonio’s death at Woodlawn Cemetery.

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New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

Friends, supporters and admirers of the passionate advocate joined family members to hear stories of his innovative ideals for New York City. Roberto Ragone performed a dramatic interpretation of Vito Marcantonio’s speeches while Troy Hodges performed Paul Robeson’s eulogy for Marcantonio. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito spoke of Marcantonio’s lesser known, but critical advocacy for Puerto Rico’s independence. “Many people in Puerto Rico don’t know about his fight for the independence of Puerto Rican’s and how he was vilified for those views. I want New York to progress in the same way that Vito had imagined…New York is for everyone.” she said.

Vito Marcantonio was born in 1902 to Italian-American immigrants and grew up in East Harlem. First being elected as a Congressman under the Republican ticket in 1934, he later switched to the American Labor Party in 1937. Marcantonio’s district was also his home and he fought for reform important to the immigrants of Italian and Puerto Rican origin. Marcantonio defended Italian-Americans against discrimination during World War II and advocated for African American civil rights, especially in making lynching a federal crime. During his political career in the House of Representatives, he sponsored five bills calling for Puerto Rico’s independence.  A staunch and vocal activist, Marcantonio was against both the Cold War and Korean War. He tragically died from a heart attack in 1954 at the age of 51.

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Frank Marcantonio Jr.

Frank Marcantonio Jr. admitted that he did not know much about his relative when he was younger but realized that he was following Vito’s footsteps. “Civil rights, worker’s rights, women’s rights….the things I stood for are the same that Vito stood for. I’m proud to carry on the name of Marcantonio.” He continued, “Having everyone here to share in this event and remember the views Vito shared and the work he did, this is the best way to honor him.”

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    • George Costanza

      “the Marc”was a terrorist sympathizer, who supported the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico, which was responsible for the assassination attempt of Harry S. Truman. Melisa Mark vivtero is also a hug supporter of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, FALN, which is a terrorist organization and is responsible for more than 120 bomb attacks on United States targets between 1974 and 1983.

      “Melissa Mark-Viverito backed FALN bomber of Fraunces Tavern”

      The son of a man killed 38 years ago in the infamous FALN bombing of
      Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan says he’s incensed that Melissa
      Mark-Viverito — who lobbied for the parole of an imprisoned ringleader
      of the terrorist group in 2010 — has been elected City Council speaker.

      Joe Connor, 47, a bank vice president, said it was “disgraceful” that
      Mark-Viverito supported a parole bid for FALN leader Oscar Lopez
      Rivera.

      “I would like to ask her how she could possibly expect to have the
      second-most important position in our city, while advocating for a
      terrorist whose group attacked and murdered New Yorkers,” Connor said.
      Connor’s dad, Frank, was among four people killed in the 1975 lunchtime
      bombing by the Puerto Rican separatist group.

      In 1981, the majority of the FALN terrorists were sentenced to 50- to
      70-year prison terms. In 2010 Mark-Viverito asked her council
      colleagues to sign a petition supporting Rivera’s parole bid, describing
      him as a political prisoner.

      “advocated for African American civil rights, especially in making lynching a federal crime.”

      He may have advocated but he wasn’t the champion of making lynching a federal crime, that honor would go to many other champions of the anti lynching cause such as Leonidas C. Dyer, the civil rights activist, and military officer who served 11 terms in the U.S. Congress as a Republican Representative from Missouri. in 1918 Dyer was notable for proposing the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill.
      In 1920 the Republican Party supported such legislation in its platform
      from the National Convention. In January 1922, Dyer’s bill was passed
      by the House, which approved it by a wide margin due to “insistent
      countrywide demand”.[2] The bill was defeated by the white Democratic voting bloc of the South in filibusters in the Senate in December 1922, in 1923 and 1924.

      -anti-lynching advocates such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Walter Francis White campaigned for presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932. They hoped he would lend public support to their efforts against lynching. Senators Robert F. Wagner and Edward P. Costigan
      drafted the Costigan-Wagner bill in 1934 to require local authorities
      to protect prisoners from lynch mobs. Like the Dyer bill, it made
      lynching a Federal crime in order to take it out of state
      administration.

      -In 1939, Roosevelt created the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department. It started prosecutions to combat lynching, but failed to win any convictions until 1946.

      -In 1946, the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department gained its
      first conviction under federal civil rights laws against a lyncher.
      Florida constable Tom Crews was sentenced to a $1,000 fine and one year
      in prison for civil rights violations in the killing of an African
      American farm worker.

      -In 1947, the Truman Administration published a report entitled To Secure These Rights
      which advocated making lynching a federal crime, abolishing poll taxes,
      and other civil rights reforms. The Southern Democratic bloc of
      senators and congressmen continued to obstruct attempts at federal
      legislation

      -In the 1940s, the Klan openly criticized Truman for his efforts to promote civil rights.

      anti lynching bills were made difficult to pass because of southern democrat opposition

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