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La sentinella = The sentinel. [volume] : (Bridgeport, Conn.) 191?-1948
Alternative Titles:
  • Sentinel 1920-Sept. 1, 1923
Place of publication:
Bridgeport, Conn.
Geographic coverage:
  • Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
P. Alteri
Dates of publication:
  • -anno. 35, no. 36 (10 sett. 1948).
  • English
  • Italian
  • Bridgeport (Conn.)--Newspapers.
  • Connecticut--Bridgeport.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01209541
  • Connecticut--Fairfield County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01207658
  • Connecticut.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01205688
  • Fairfield County (Conn.)--Newspapers.
  • Italians--Connecticut--Newspapers.
  • Italians.--fast--(OCoLC)fst00980750
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Available on microfilm from Library of Congress, Photoduplication Service, and Connecticut State Library.
  • Description based on: Anno. 7, no. 15 (apr. 17, 1920).
  • Suspended Mar. 1, 1924; resumed Apr. 19, 1924.
  • Text in Italian and English.
sn 84020351
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La sentinella = The sentinel. [volume] April 17, 1920 , Image 1


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La Sentinella

In November 1977, the Bridgeport Post noted that when Italian immigrants began flocking to "the Park City" in the 1890s and 1900s, they "encountered a solid wall of prejudice and open hatred." Fortunately, the beleaguered immigrants soon found a sense of community and a source of civic pride in the city's Italian-language newspapers.

The weekly La Sentinella was not the first newspaper to try to unite a factionalized Italian-American community. La Tribuna del Connecticut, established in 1906,was one such outlet, along with Il Sole, founded around the same time. Although the exact start date of La Sentinella is unknown, a Hartford Courant obituary for Bridgeport newspaperman J.V. Massey, formerly the owner of Il Sole, suggests that it might have been in 1913 or 1914, the year when Massey sold his interest in the paper.

When compared to other Italian-language newspapers of the time, La Sentinella was longer, with some issues extending to a full eight pages. Interestingly, during the early 1920s, each issue included a page dedicated to news from the Italian American community of Port Chester, New York.

Of note, La Sentinella consistently offered a critical perspective on news of the day, particularly about their own colonia (colony). In an article that appeared just before Christmas 1930, when Bridgeport was reeling from the Depression, an unsigned editorial lamented that few in the city's sizeable Italian American community were using their organizing skills and fraternal organizations to help connazionali (fellow countrymen) in need. Another editorial in the same issue expressed disillusionment with Bridgeport machine politics.

Politically, La Sentinella was a Republican-leaning paper. An article in the October 25, 1924, issue, published just weeks before Election Day, observed that there were far more candidates of Italian ancestry running on the GOP ticket and exhorted readers to remember their "sacred and patriotic duty" at the polls.

"The support for Mussolini was strong in Bridgeport's Italian community," historian Cecelia Bucki notes, and this is evident in the pages of La Sentinella. In November and December 1922, in the wake of Italy's parliament giving dictatorial powers to Mussolini, the newspaper reprinted his speeches under glowing headlines like "Fascism Triumphant."

During World War II, La Sentinella's pro-Mussolini sentiments disappeared. The newspaper's sporadic wartime issues covered conditions in and aid for Italy, as well as news of special interest to Italian Americans, such as rules for sending mail abroad. Following WWII, La Sentinella reported on efforts to rebuild Italy and came out against the 1947 Treaty of Peace with Italy, calling the day it was signed "a day of mourning for Italians."

For more than twenty years, Pasquale Altieri served as publisher and editor of La Sentinella. According to an article in the Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer, as early as 1913, he had developed a reputation as a "well known newspaper writer of this city." Altieri was a civic leader in Bridgeport, serving in executive roles with the Park City's Federation of Italian Societies, as well as organizing Columbus Day parades and addressing audiences in both Italian and English. Perhaps for this reason, the songs and speeches for Columbus Day festivities and other events organized for the colonia always received in-depth coverage in La Sentinella.

When he died in 1935 at age 56, La Sentinella's obituary described Altieri as a "man of intense feeling" whose newspaper "was always the champion of Italians and was a beacon of light for them in their upward climb to the present responsible position in the civic, business, social and political life of the community." After Altieri's death, his brother Frank ran the newspaper. The front page of the last published issue of La Sentinella, September 10, 1948, is devoted to Frank Altieri's death.

Provided by: Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT