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21 Dig.: Nat'l Italian Am. B. Ass'n L.J. 47 (2013)
Fred Moore: Renegade Defense Attorney for Sacco and Vanzetti

handle is hein.journals/digst21 and id is 49 raw text is: 






Fred Moore: Renegade Defense Attorney for
Sacco and Vanzetti


SUSAN TEJADA*


   Two Italian immigrants, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were ar-
rested in May 1920 in Brockton, Massachusetts. They were charged with mur-
dering two guards in nearby South Braintree one month earlier, and escaping
with fifteen thousand dollars in payroll cash that the guards had been deliver-
ing to a shoe factory. Sacco, a skilled worker at another shoe factory, and
Vanzetti, a self-employed fish peddler, went on trial a year later, at a time when
their beliefs in labor activism and anarchism were unpopular, as was their re-
cord of draft evasion during World War L Fred Moore, former counsel for the
Industrial Workers of the World, a militant labor union, led the defense team,
and was its only member from out of state. The enormous and unfortunate im-
pact he had on the case is examined here.

   In August 1920, Fred Moore jumped into a car in New York and started
driving north. His destination: Boston, where he was scheduled to meet with a
printer named Aldino Felicani.
   Felicani had recently set up a legal defense committee for Nick Sacco and
Bartolomeo Vanzetti, his fellow anarchists and imprisoned friends. The imme-
diate task facing the committee was to find lawyers to defend the prisoners at
their upcoming joint trial.
   Carlo Tresca, a well-known anarchist journalist then based in New York, had
urged Felicani to hire a radical lawyer-Moore, to be specific. In Boston, Feli-
cani gave Moore a five-hundred-dollar retainer, and that made it official. The
radical lawyer was now on the case.

                  BACKGROUND: DEFENDING THE WOBBLIES

   The story of Fred Moore parallels the story of the American labor movement
at its fighting front.1


  * Susan Tejada, a former editor for the National Geographic Society, has written a new book about
the case, IN SEARCH OF SACCO AND VANZETTI: DOUBLE LIVES, TROUBLED TIMES, AND THE MASSACHU
SETTS MURDER CASE THAT SHOOK THE WORLD (Northeastern University Press 2012). In this article for
The Digest, she summarizes what she learned about Moore, and about his influence on the controversial
case. IN SEARCH OF SACCO AND VANZETTI is, according to a starred review in Booklist, a terrific re-
examination of the case with the suspense and engagement of a good thriller ., [as well as a]
perceptive history of early twentieth-century radicalism. More information is available at
www.susantejada.com.
  1. EUGENE LYONS, THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SACCO AND VANZETTI 66 (DaCapo Press, 1970) (1927).

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