Suffolk University, in partnership with the North End Historical Society, will host the premiere screening of the documentary film, “Boston’s North End: An Italian American Story” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 20, 2016, at the Modern Theatre, 525 Washington Street, in Boston’s Theatre District.
“As the title indicates, it is not so much a documentary history as it is the story of the things that made the North End special,” said James Pasto, co-founder of the North End Historical Society. “Those things include Sunday dinners, nicknames, street corners, doo wop, world boxing champion Tony DeMarco and longtime youth baseball coach Dom Campochiaro.”
The film features a segment on George Scigliano, one of the first Italian-Americans elected to public office at the city and state level. It focuses on his life’s work and the battle to rename North Square after him, led by the Post-Gazette founder James Donnaruma. Also highlighted in the film is sociologist William Foote Whyte and his book Street Corner Society, the 1943 study of Italian-American gangs in the North End, which is still regarded as one of the most famous works of urban sociology.
“We also capture the history of gentrification and how the North End has changed over the years,” said Pasto. “Through a series of stories, we create what the North End was like in its early history to what it’s become today.
“The bottom line is that our community is still the North End and we proudly celebrate our Italian heritage each and every day. I feel that people who live here and visit our neighborhood cherish that.”
Robert Allison, chair of Suffolk University’s History Department and a Boston historian, feels that the film perfectly portrays the North End as a unique neighborhood and one of the places that makes Boston special.
“The film is a loving portrait of the people of the North End,” said Allison. “We are invited into
their homes, sharing the lives of men, women and children rooted in these narrow streets.
“This documentary captures the binding forces of family, faith and food that shaped the North End and what makes Boston such a great city.”
“While growing up in the then-Italian neighborhood of East Boston, the North End was always like a second home to me,” said Suffolk University Senior Vice President for External Affairs John A. Nucci. “A film like this helps us all to remember well-known North End values and traditions, as well as provide a glimpse of the contributions made by Italian-Americans to the history of this great city.”
A Q-and-A session will immediately follow the film. For more information, please contact the North End Historical Society at [email protected]
Boston’s North End: An Italian American Story was produced and directed as a joint venture by Kendall Productions of Cambridge, Mass., and John Balcom Productions of Los Angeles.
The mission of the North End Historical Society is to collect and preserve the historical record and material culture of Boston’s North End, and to preserve, catalog and present these resources in service to the wider community through publications, lectures, educational programs and exhibits. It also includes ongoing efforts to bring together scholars and individuals knowledgeable and interested in all aspects of the North End’s history.
Suffolk University, located in historic downtown Boston, with an international campus in Madrid, is a student-centered institution distinguished by excellence in education and scholarship. Suffolk University offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 90 areas of study. Its mission is to empower graduates to be successful locally, regionally and globally.