The Lynching of Castenge Ficcarotta and Angelo Albano

The 1910 Lynching of Two Italians

In 1910, a crowd of around thirty armed men abducted two Italian prisoners from the police, and hanged them.

The lynching of Angelo Albano and Castenge Ficarrotta was a dark occurrence in the history of Italians in Tampa. On September 20, 1910, the two men were arrested for complicity in the shooting of J.F. Easterling. Easterling was a worker at the Bustillo Brothers and Diaz cigar company. He had not been killed immediately after being shot, but was taken to Gordon Keller Memorial Hospital. On the night of September 20th, 1910, Albano and Ficarrotta were being transported by police to jail. The policemen’s last names were Evans and Bryan. The two officers had planned on taking the prisoners down Howard Avenue until they reached Grand Central Avenue. At that intersection, they would take Grand Central Avenue to reach their destination.

When the police transporting Albano and Ficarrotta were getting closer to the intersection of Howard and Grand Central, the journey took a dark turn. Evans and Bryan were stopped by a crowd of twenty five to thirty masked men, armed with guns. The officers were surrounded by the guns, and could not move. The carriage came to a halt, and the two prisoners were taken by the men. The crowd fled the area with the prisoners in three cars. Evans and Bryan went rapidly back to West Tampa. Soon, a police hunt for the prisoners’ abductors began. During their search, the police encountered a group of Italians and Cubans. These people informed the officers that the abductors had traveled west. Evans and Bryan did not continue the search, but other officers did. Their desire was to overtake the three cars which were transporting the prisoners and their abductors.

The police who searched for the three cars made it as far a Rocky Point with little to no success. On the return journey, the officers discovered Albano and Ficarrotta hanging from a single limb on a tree. They were hung together, for their handcuffs had not been removed. It appeared that the two men were not shot by the abductors, but were strangled to death. While hanging, Ficarotta “…still had his derby on and had an old pipe in his mouth.” A piece of paper was pinned to the trousers of Angelo Albano, with a message written in black ink, saying: “Beware! Others take notice or go the same way. We know seven more. We are watching you. If any more citizens are molested, look out – Justice.” The police thought that the lynch mob consisted of Italians and Cubans. The lynching occurred near West Hyde Park, in West Tampa.

The lynching of Angelo Albano and Castenge Ficarrotta marks a dark chapter in the history of Italians in Tampa. Instead of receiving a trial, they were the victims of Lynch Law in the United States at that time. This event demonstrated the power which the Italian citizens of Tampa had. The lynch mob was said to have been composed of Cubans and Italians, not Americans. If this was the case, then the lynching can be seen as evidence that the population, as well as influence, of the Italians and Italian-Americans, was growing in Tampa in the early twentieth century.

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West Tampa Tampa, FL 33607