NICOLA SACCO (1891–1927) was born in Torremaggiorre, in southern Italy. As a youth he worked in his father’s vineyard, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1908 and eventually found work in a shoe factory in Milford, MA. He married in 1912 and had children. Soon after he became a devoted anarchist and a comrade of Bartolomeo Vanzetti. In May 1920, Sacco was arrested and charged with taking part in a robbery and murder in South Braintree, MA. In 1921, he was found guilty. After all appeals failed, he was executed on August 23, 1927.
BARTOLOMEO VANZETTI (1888–1927) was born in northern Italy and emigrated to the U.S. in 1908, after the death of his mother. He settled first in New York City, then worked as a laborer in various cities in eastern Massachusetes, eventually settling in Plymouth. By 1912 he had become an anarchist, and was arrested along with Sacco, not only for the Braintree crime but also with an attempted hold-up in Bridgewater, MA. Like Sacco, he was found guilty and was executed a few months after his friend.
BRUCE WATSON is the author of Sacco and Vanzetti: The Judgment of Mankind. He is an award-winning journalist whose articles have been published in The Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, and The Boston Globe.