Secrets: The Galleanisti
We said that in every case of radicals brought to trial, from the
Chicago martyrs to that of Ettor-Giovannitti, the reactionary press has
always been deadly against them—the capitalist press had no more
excuses to keep quiet about our case.1
—Bartolomeo Vanzetti, 1926
At the 1928 Republican National Convention held in Kansas City, reporters asked U.S. Senator William E. Borah if his party’s presidential nominee, Herbert Hoover, should consider Governor Alvan Tufts Fuller of Massachusetts as a running mate. Borah unhesitatingly dismissed Fuller’s chances, saying he would “never do” because the governor was linked inextricably with the Sacco-Vanzetti case.2 Borah explained that because Fuller had refused to grant executive clemency to the Italian anarchists in 1927, the governor would be “obnoxious” to foreign-born American voters.3 Political insiders like Borah realized the Republican Party standardbearer needed all the immigrant votes he could muster to win the Fall 1928 presidential election. Debating the Sacco-Vanzetti case again in the press would hardly help Secretary of Commerce Hoover in his quest to succeed President Coolidge. Hoover needed much help to win in 1928 but he did not need to relive one of America’s most embarrassing cases. Fuller’s name quickly disappeared from conversations at the convention and he soon retired from political and public life.
In mid-April 1920, a grisly double murder took place on a main street in a small shoe-factory town near Boston. The homicides in South Braintree