Find out what you need to know for Italian Heritage Month

I am so proud to be a third generation Italian American and consider myself lucky to have grown up in an Italian neighborhood in Union City.

Italian Red Cross prepares meals for Rome’s homeless during coronavirus lockdown

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As we celebrate Italian American Heritage Month, I think it would be a good thing if everyone like me took the time to learn about the struggle of our ancestors.

When they came to this country, many had to overcome adversity so that we could have the life we ​​live today.

Photo Dennis Malloy

Photo Dennis Malloy

There’s a great four-part PBS series called “The Italian Americans,” which does a great job of telling our story.

It’s a story every Italian-American should be proud of, and it starts with family.

When the Italians first arrived here, they were not given a shrine, but rather a shovel.

They were not welcomed with open arms but rather looked down upon.

Italians were the victims of the largest mass lynching in this country when 11 were hanged in New Orleans after being found not guilty of murdering a police chief.

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Theodore Roosevelt, according to, called it “pretty good stuff”.

When World War II broke out, hundreds of Italian “enemy aliens” were sent to internment camps and over 10,000 were driven from their homes.

In 1941, Italian-American Yankee center Joe DiMaggio was America’s most popular man despite his parents being unwanted enemy aliens. Go figure.

Marilyn Monroe, right, wearing a glamorous evening dress, arrives with Joe DiMaggio at the theater

Marilyn Monroe, right, wearing a glamorous evening gown, arrives with Joe DiMaggio at the theater (AP Photo, File)

These are just a few of the adversities faced by Italian Americans.

The achievements are far too many to celebrate in just one month.

Some of the greatest singers are Italian-American.

In New Jersey, we have our own “Fab Four”.

BBC Proms in the Park – Hyde Park

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They would be Frank Sinatra, Frankie Valli, real name Francis Stephen Castelluccio, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen who is part Italian.

Jon Bon Jovi portrait session

Drew Gurian/Invision/AP

Bruce Springsteen Media Call

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Take this John Paul George and Ringo.

Beatles at the BBC

Photo by Central Press/Getty Images

We could also talk about movies like “The Godfather,” TV shows like “The Sopranos,” and how Italian Americans have to face and overcome the mob stereotype to become one of the most prosperity of the country and the world.

The HBO Godfather behind the scenes

Forget Phil – NJ has 2 Groundhogs & Coati Day – The NJ Breakroom (Paramount Pictures)

Tony Sirico James Gandolfini

Tony Sirico, left, and James Gandolfini hold their awards for best ensemble in a drama for their work in ‘The Sopranos’ at the 14th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, January 27, 2008 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

BTW, did you know that Bank of America was first known as Bank of Italy?

So much to know, so much more to discover.

I passed on these stories and showed my sons Lennon and Albert “The Italian Americans” while eating pizza. It made for a great family evening followed by lots of conversation.

The views expressed in the above post are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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