Tragedy in Dedham: The Story of the Sacco-Vanzetti Case

By Francis Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
POST - TRIAL: I

The convictions made the Friday headlines of all the Boston papers, but by mid-August references to Sacco and Vanzetti had disappeared from even the back pages. Theirs had been just another Massachusetts murder trial, longer than most, but finished now in every sense. So it seemed to J. Weston Allen, the Attorney General, when he sent a letter of congratulation to District Attorney Katzmann. So it seemed to Chief Justice Aiken, who wrote to his colleague and fellow Dartmouth alumnus Webster Thayer that "Your management of the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti entitles you to the highest degree summa cum laude." Whatever undercurrents of radical protest might still persist, they remained well below the surface of middle-class complacency.

But while in the United States the storm centered in Massachusetts subsided, overseas there were increasing rumblings broken by occasional flashes of lightning. As early as August 6, 1921, the Executive Committee of the Chamber of Labor Unions in Rome sent a telegram to President Harding expressing the hope that "the crime of the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti will not be recorded." Eugene Lyons in his six months in Italy had done a skillful publicity job, for by the time of the trial, Italians were generally convinced that Sacco and Vanzetti were innocent. The Latin anarchists in the United States had written voluminously to their comrades in Italy, Spain, and Portugal, laying the groundwork for the later agitation. Frank Lopez, through his contacts with the more important South American newspapers, had managed to appeal to the widespread antigringo feeling there.

Although American consulates and embassies overseas had begun to receive letters of protest in September, the real force of the agita

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