Documentarian Peter Miller illuminates history's lost stories. In his latest film, "Sacco and Vanzetti," he revisits the tragic fate of two Italian immigrants executed in 1927 for a murder they probably didn't commit. He spoke with Joshua Alston.
I was drawn to their ideology. They were hardworking and believed in opportunity and idealism, things we regard as traditional American values. I read the amazing letters they wrote to their children from prison, and I thought theirs was a story that everyone should know.
Unfortunately, not very much. Now that Italians are a successfully assimilated group, it's easy to forget that there was a tremendous amount of hostility aimed against them when they arrived, and with new immigrant groups, the pattern of our nation not being welcoming continues to recur.
We are at a time when people have been willing to sacrifice civil liberties to preserve national security, and people have been increasingly anxious about the presence of immigrants in our society, so this story shows the country in a similar time in history. There are many parallels that can be drawn to our current struggle with immigration.