Athos Terzani, Accusato falsamente di omicidio dal "Generale" delle Khaki Shirts, Art J. Smith, presentera il suo caso dinanzi al popolo di Philadelphia ad un Mass Meeting Venerdi, 24 Novembre, alle ore 8 P.M. / Athos Terzani, Facing trial for murder on the false story of "General" Art J. Smith of the Khaki Shirts, will put his case before the people of Philadelphia at a Mass Meeting Friday, November 24, at 8 P.M. Philadelphia: Anti-Fascist United Front, [1933].

Photo Dec 20, 4 03 41 PM.jpg

Title

Athos Terzani, Accusato falsamente di omicidio dal "Generale" delle Khaki Shirts, Art J. Smith, presentera il suo caso dinanzi al popolo di Philadelphia ad un Mass Meeting Venerdi, 24 Novembre, alle ore 8 P.M. / Athos Terzani, Facing trial for murder on the false story of "General" Art J. Smith of the Khaki Shirts, will put his case before the people of Philadelphia at a Mass Meeting Friday, November 24, at 8 P.M. Philadelphia: Anti-Fascist United Front, [1933].

Description

This handbill - in Italian on the recto and in English on the verso - announces a mass meeting in support of Athos Terzani’s innocence. The English text states: “Athos Terzani, Facing trial for murder on the false story of ‘General’ Art J. Smith of the Khaki Shirts, will put his case before the people of Philadelphia at a Mass Meeting Friday, November 24, at 8 P.M.” Speakers included Giovannitti and Tresca, among the leading Italians. Norman Thomas, co-chairman of the Terzani Defense Committee with Roger Baldwin, organized by Tresca, was also a speaker; his work eventually led to Terzani’s exoneration at trial the following month.

A cab driver, Terzani was a young anti-fascist follower of Tresca’s who was falsely accused of the murder of another anti-fascist, Antonio Fierro, at a rally of the fascist Khaki Shirts of America held in Astoria, Queens, on July 14, 1933. The rally was held a few months before a fascist “March on Washington” planned for Columbus Day, 1933, ostensibly to overthrow the government and establish a fascist dictatorship. Tresca had quickly organized a counter-rally, with the headline in that morning’s La Stampa Libera sounding his exhortation: “mobilitazione antifascista! [anti-fascist mobilization!]”

The murder had been preceded by the clubbing to unconsciousness of Fort Velona, the noted illustrator whose work is in several items in the collection, for crying out “Morte a Mussolini!” upon hearing “Il Duce”’s name praised. Charged with murder in the second degree in a politically-charged indictment by the Queens district attorney, Terzani was released on $15,000 bail. The leader of the legal team was the brilliant Arthur Garfield Hays. At Terzani’s trial from December 11–13, several ex-Khaki Shirts identified a Khaki Shirts bodyguard as Fierro’s shooter.

Terzani was found not guilty by a jury in 32 minutes; shortly afterward, Terzani and his fiancé were married at a victory celebration, with Norman Thomas as best man, and Tresca’s new companion, Margaret DeSilver, as matron of honor.

Note that the producer of this handbill was not Carlo Tresca's AFANA (Anti-Fascist Alliance of North America) but rather a different group, the Anti-Fascist United Front.  Try as he might, Tresca was unsuccessful in keeping the splintered Italian left together for the anti-fascist movement. So a smaller group - this Anti-Fascist United Front - was formed. Yet Tresca signed this handbill, as representative of the Italian Defense Committee.

The collection contains a related work, Ad Antonio Fierro: spento da piombo fascista [For Antonio Fierro: killed by a fascist bullet]. New York: [n.p.], [1933], a poem composed by Italian-American labor poet, Antonino Crivello; and several book covers and other art work of Fort Velona, q.v.

 

Publisher

Anti-Fascist United Front

Date

[1933]

Format

25.5cm x 17.5cm

Citation

“Athos Terzani, Accusato falsamente di omicidio dal "Generale" delle Khaki Shirts, Art J. Smith, presentera il suo caso dinanzi al popolo di Philadelphia ad un Mass Meeting Venerdi, 24 Novembre, alle ore 8 P.M. / Athos Terzani, Facing trial for murder on the false story of "General" Art J. Smith of the Khaki Shirts, will put his case before the people of Philadelphia at a Mass Meeting Friday, November 24, at 8 P.M. Philadelphia: Anti-Fascist United Front, [1933].,” Italian-Language American Imprints: The Periconi Collection, accessed September 26, 2022, https://italianamericanimprints.omeka.net/items/show/539.

Output Formats

Comments

Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>