Saturday, April 17, 2010

Braintree, 1920: The Victims Memorialized

Yesterday's Patriot Ledger carries a story on the dedication of a memorial to the two men murdered in the crime for which Sacco and Vanzetti were tried, in what became a great cause celebre of early twentieth century American liberalism. The story commences:
It may be one of the most debated cases in the American legal history, and it’s one that caused a worldwide sensation. But in the homes of the descendants of Frederick Parmenter and Alessandro Berardelli, the deaths of Parmenter and Berardelli 90 years ago on Pearl Street in Braintree were not to be discussed.

“My parents wouldn’t talk about it,” said Frederick Parmenter of Lakeville, who carries his grandfather’s watch as well as his name.

His son, Brian Parmenter of Dighton, agreed.

“The family really kept it quiet on that part of the family history,” he said.

Dina Chieffo, a great-granddaughter of Berardelli, said she has learned more about the family’s connection to the case in the last couple of years, after her daughter Alessandra, 13, began researching the family history for a school project.

On the 90th anniversary of their deaths in a payroll robbery, the town dedicated a memorial to Parmenter, a paymaster for the Slater and Morrill shoe factory in Braintree, and Berardelli, his guard.