Guiseppe Zangara

Guiseppe Zangara

Guiseppe Zangara was born in Ferruzzano, Italy, on 7th September, 1900. His mother died when he was two years old and his father remarried. At the age of six he started school but after two months he was forced to go to work to help improve the family income.

Zangara did a variety of menial jobs in Italy emigrating with his uncle to the United States in 1923. He secured a job as a bricklayer in New Jersey before moving to California where he hoped the warmer climate would improve his health. Zangara then settled in Miami, Florida, where he worked as a bricklayer.

Zangara found it very difficult to find work during the Depression and developed a strong hatred of President Herbert Hoover, who he blamed for his problems. When Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Hoover in 1932, Zangara turned his anger towards the new president.

On 13th February, 1933, Zangara read that Roosevelt was to visit Bayfront Park on 15th February, 1933. Zangara bought a .32 caliber pistol and joined the crowd. As he was only 5 feet tall, Zangara had difficulty seeing his proposed victim. He climbed on top of an old unstable wooden chair and started to fire. One bullet hit Anton Cermak the major of Chicago who was with Roosevelt. Four members of the crowd were also injured but none of the bullets hit the president. Roosevelt comforted Cermak who had suffered an abdominal wound. On the way to the hospital Cermak told Roosevelt, "I'm glad it was me and not you, Mr. President."

Joseph Zangara, after his arrest in Miami, Florida.
Joseph Zangara, after his arrest in Miami, Florida.

Zangara was put on trial and sentenced to 84 years for injuring bystanders during his attempt to kill Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Cermak died on 3rd March, Zangara was charged with murder and after being found guilty was sentenced to death in the electric chair at the Florida State Penitentiary. When he heard his sentence he yelled at the judge, "You give me electric chair. I no afraid of that chair! You're one of capitalists. You is crook man too. Put me in electric chair. I no care!" Guiseppe Zangara was executed on 20th March, 1933.