Abstract

Justice Michael A. Musmanno was a crusader for his entire public career. Moralistic in his thinking, he tended to see public affairs in terms of black and white, and good versus evil, with him always fighting for what he considered the morally correct side. His fight to win acquittal for Sacco and Vanzetti and his ongoing efforts to secure their exoneration after their execution truly defined him. There was never any question in his mind that both men were innocent, the victims of ethnic prejudice, xenophobia, and judicial failure that represented a stain upon America and its legal system. Musmanno felt he had a duty to wipe away that stain and sought to do so from 1927 to his death in 1968. In a lifetime marked by fighting for causes, clearing Sacco and Vanzetti, for Musmanno, was the most sacred cause of all.

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