The Little Slaves of the Harp: Italian Child Street by John E. Zucchi

By John E. Zucchi

The padrone have been usually identified to the households of the kids or have been from an identical villages. whereas a few have been merciless exploiters who forced obedience via terror and abuse - a view promoted through a couple of, well-publicized instances - the lot of every one of these teenagers was once just like that of kid apprentices and helpers in different trades. Public reactions to the kid performers have been varied in each one urban and mirrored the host society's view of the inflow of overseas immigrants quite often. even if England, France, and the U.S. constructed laws within the mid-nineteenth century to house young ones in factories, they didn't try to control youngsters in road trades until eventually later within the century simply because they observed the paintings as a kind of begging. The conflict to get Italian baby musicians off the road dragged on for years ahead of laws and new paintings possibilities - usually as exhausting as or worse than highway appearing - directed the youngsters into new trades.

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Additional resources for The Little Slaves of the Harp: Italian Child Street Musicians in Nineteenth-Century Paris, London, and New York

Sample text

The contracts stipulated that the children were to be cared for, fed, and clothed by the padroni. The clothes they wore and the food they ate would have seemed strange to New Yorkers or Londoners. " Perhaps it was the same reporter who, a year later, interviewed three boys aged six, eight, and twelve. Pietrocito and Rocco-Terzo were from Laurenzana, one of the important sending towns in Basilicata. Franceschito was from a nearby town. All lived in the same building on Crosby Street; all had been "sold" to a master by their parents; all claimed to have been beaten into silence by their respective padroni.

Deforestation and the redistribution of dernesnial lands also 2O Little Slaves of the Harp upset the peasant economy, as did the rapid increase in population. It is difficult to generalize for all three areas of the Appenines from which the musicians came. By focusing on one of these Parma and its adjacent Appenine towns in Liguria - we can gain an understanding of some of the general factors that motivated the street musicians and other peasants to leave their homes. The earliest child and adult street entertainers came from the villages near Parma in a section of high ground known as Monte Pelpi.

Children were to meet a daily quota or risk a beating. As a result, many children either left their padroni or sought refuge among young companions from their home town. Two such young minstrels from Viggiano could not be traced. Because of the threat to the children's health and morals, the consul asked the local police for their co-operation in stamping out the trade. The police responded that they would attempt to end the trade, and if they could not do so they would increase surveillance.

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