Dominic Candeloro

Dominic Candeloro was born to immigrant parents in Chicago Heights, educated at Bloom High School, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (PHD). A disciple of Rudolf Vecoli, he led the NEH “Italians in Chicago Project” at UIC and has worked for the last four decades at the Italian Cultural Center promoting Italian American Studies. He was assistant to Mayor Angelo Ciambrone of Chicago Heights (1995-2003) and was co-chair with Tony Fornelli of the successful campaign to establish the endowed Italian American Studies Program at Loyola University Chicago. He is the author of a number of books on Chicago Italians.

Reframing the Columbus debate

Columbus’ voyages challenge our concept of history. On the one hand, we have the heroic notion of Columbus sailing the ocean blue to discover a new world. On the other, we have the revisionist interpretation of Columbus as a perpetrator of genocide. In between is a full range of facts, questions and interpretations that make history the fascinating discipline it is. First and foremost, Christopher Columbus was a man of his times. And like all of us, he was an imperfect mortal. He embodied the spirit of enterprise then emerging in Europe, but his pursuit of material gain had a …

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My hunt for a queen

After 70 years in Italian America, I am still searching for the “Queen of Little Italy.” No, she’s not one of those lovely young ladies who reign over the Columbus Day Parade. My queen was short and stout and tough, and she packed a gun. She died in 1920. In her day, she controlled more votes than any other woman in Chicago. She was a midwife who delivered her voters into the world at their birth and to the polls on election day. She was a strong leader who in her time defied every stereotype of women, Italians and immigrants. …

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