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Mayor LaToya Cantrell To Apologize For 1891 Lynchings Of Eleven Italian Americans

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Photo courtesy of the Historic New Orleans Collection
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New Orleans residents gather on March 14, 1891. Speakers exhorted the crowd to go to parish prison and lynch the Italians charged with killing Police Chief David Hennessey.

Tomorrow (Friday,) Mayor LaToya Cantrell plans to formally apologize for something that happened 128 years ago. In 1891, the city’s popular police chief was murdered, and the Italian-American community was blamed. Over a dozen Italian Americans were put on trial, but eventually found not guilty.

But many were convinced the Italian community was behind the murder. An angry mob stormed the city jail, where those acquitted were still in custody, and killed 11 people. Mayor Cantrell will deliver the city's first formal apology on April 12th at the American Italian Cultural Center.

WWNO’s Laine Kaplan-Levenson sat down with the center’s chairman, Frank Maselli to learn more.

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