• Brasscheck TV

    Hi. Great article.

    While it may “seem” improbable that Black indians celebrate a Sicilian Holy Day, if you know some strangely little- celebrated New Orleans history, the situation is so improbable.

    In the late 19th/early 20th century hundreds of thousands of Sicilians escaped an economic holocaust so severe that impoverished farm families were forced to “pawn” their young boys to sulphur mine operators, often never to be seen again, just to survive. Those who arrived in New Orleans were of no mind to adopt the racist attitudes and behavior of the Old South.

    Sicilian shopkeepers opened their doors to black customers and suffered many of the same outrages as the city’s black citizens. In fact, the biggest lynching in US history took place in New Orleans and Sicilians were the victims.

    It was a New Orleans-based Sicilian-led band, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, that put first jazz on the commercial map internationally. And let’s not forget Sicilian Cosimo Matassa who opened his recording studio to music and musicians that the “establishment” of the city on the 1950s would not touch.

    The only thing improbable about St. Joseph’s Night is the the deep historical amnesia about the what has been one of the city’s – and nation’s – great social, creative and spiritual collaborations.