Cathy Trione Gontar
Mastrovalerio worked very hard as an agent of the railroads, which wanted to settle immigrants on their roads-- for the new rail-road based economy, to get Italians in Chicago and elsewhere, to migrate to areas where officials were actually calling for immigrants. Many Italian immigrants were farmers and he recognized the importance of getting them into rural areas of the States where they could farm. They came to America with agricultural skills, and even the Italian coal miners in Illinois in the late 19th century were farming in their mining communities, also raising animals, and selling produce in local towns, not depending on mining solely for their support.
Please research this person properly.
There is an enormous amount of material available in newspapers from the era and recent peer reviewed resaearch. One of the most important 'remarks' in his Remarks on the Italians in Chicago is his insistence on the importance of guiding the Italian immigrant to independence and land ownership for agriculture. Italians came to America with centuries of agricultural expertise, known for their ability to maximize the value of land and protect its ability to produce, not cut and run timber marketing that destroyed soil and landscape. He also worked to protect those he relocated from financial abuse, unlike many others.
Do you have any references in your archive to Cipriano Allegri? He was associated with Valerio, lived in Chicago and farmed in Alabama. He as an immigrant from Lucca, Tuscany. What do you have related to Mastrovalerio?
To simply refer to M-V as a radical and dismiss is not ulimately in line with the mission of Hull House. Addams had to fit in politically to survive, could not be rooming with 'radicals.' That M-V was tainted with the 'radical' label at a time when business interests were threatened by a growing progressive labor movement made him a hot potato.
I see him as someone to be admired and remembered. He actually did something, moved people, not bandaids.
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