August 23, 1927

Massachusetts Executes Sacco and Vanzetti

Greater Boston

On this day in 1927, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were put to death in the state prison in Charlestown. A jury convicted them of murder and robbery in 1921, but a long struggle was waged to save their lives. The trial occurred during a period of intense prejudice against immigrants and radicals. Sacco and Vanzetti were both. Many people who followed the case believed that the pair were tried for their ethnicity and their politics, not because the evidence supported the charge. Numerous appeals were filed, another man confessed, the case became an international cause celebre — all to no avail. With a large and angry crowd gathered outside, at midnight the lights in the prison flickered. Sacco and Vanzetti had died in the electric chair.

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