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La libera parola. [volume] : (Philadelphia, Pa.) 1918-1969
Alternative Titles:
  • Free speech
  • Free word
Place of publication:
Philadelphia, Pa.
Geographic coverage:
  • Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
A.G. di Silvestro
Dates of publication:
  • 20 apr., 1918-July 19, 1969.
  • English
  • Italian
  • Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01204170
  • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Newspapers.
  • "Italian weekly newspaper."
  • "Published every Saturday."
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • In Italian; later issues in English and Italian.
  • Issues for Apr. 20, 1918-Dec. 23, 1967 called Anno 1, n. 1-v. 50, no. 24; issues for <Jan. 20, 1968>-July 19, 1969 called vol. 51-52.
  • Parallel title: Free speech, Jan. 1, 1938-July 23, 1966.
  • Publishers: A. Giuseppe di Silvestro, Apr. 20, 1918-Oct. 15, 1927; Anthony di Silvestro, Nov. 5, 1927-July 19, 1969.
sn 85055164
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La libera parola. [volume] April 20, 1918 , Image 1


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La Libera Parola

In 1899 Arpino Di Silvestro began publishing a weekly newspaper entitled Il Popolo in order to compete with L'Opinione the most prominent Italian language newspaper in Philadelphia at the turn of the century. In May of 1906, Arpino and his brother Giovanni Di Silvestro merged Il Popolo with La Voce della Colonia to create La Voce del Popolo.  In 1918 La Voce del Popolo became La Libera Parola, a weekly newspaper with the slogan "avanti sempre con la fiaccola in mano" or “onward, with the guiding light in hand.”  In accordance with the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, a federal law enacted on October 6, 1917, La Libera Parola filed a translation of its wartime publications with the postmaster of Philadelphia. 

La Libera Parola publicized the activities of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Order of the Sons of Italy which Arpino Di Silvestro had helped to found in 1913.  The newspaper chronicled the United States’ and Italy’s involvement in World War I and published articles about the 1917 Russian Revolution, as well as the Socialist movement in Europe in general.  La Libera Parola supported Italy’s participation in the war and criticized Pope Benedict XV for opposing Italy’s involvement in the conflict. The paper also encouraged Italian-Americans to become American citizens, enlist in the military, and buy Liberty Bonds to help finance the Allied war effort.

The newspaper echoed the same nationalistic sentiments felt in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century and, in particular, called for the expansion of Italian territory into Dalmatia, a region in present-day Croatia on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea.  Back in 1915, the Triple Entente had promised Italy this territory in a secret pact called the Treaty of London.  In return, Italy agreed to declare war on Austria-Hungary and Germany.  At the end of the war, La Libera Parola expressed its disgust at President Woodrow Wilson for his role in nullifying the agreement at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.  In retaliation, the newspaper encouraged its readers to vote Republican in the presidential election of 1920. As a result, James M. Cox, the Democratic presidential candidate, received 10 percent fewer Italian American votes in Philadelphia than Wilson did in 1916.  La Libera Parola continued its publication until 1969.

Provided by: Penn State University Libraries; University Park, PA