PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- The state Senate has joined the effort to get Luigi Del Bianco, who lived in Port Chester until his death in 1969, the proper recognition as the chief carver of Mount Rushmore.
A few days before Port Chester unveils a memorial honoring Del Bianco, state Sen. George Latimer spoke about him on the floor of the state Senate.
“There’s certainly something symbolic about an Italian-American immigrant who comes to this country and winds up being the person who finalizes, as the chief carver, the images of four great Americans, President Washington, President Jefferson, President Lincoln and President Teddy Roosevelt,” he said Tuesday. June 17.
The U.S. Department of Interior recognizes Del Bianco as one of the 400 men who worked on the great national monument in South Dakota, built in the 1930s. Latimer said that isn’t good enough. He sponsored a resolution, J.5169, to “redress that unfairness” and pay tribute to Del Bianco's role in the task.
Additionally, the Italian-American immigrant’s son, Cesar, and grandson, Lou, are on a mission to get the National Park Service to recognize Del Bianco as the chief carver.
"I think this is exactly the push I need from politicians to influence the national parks," Lou Del Bianco told Daily Voice.
“The further sad news is that I believe, as does his biographer Douglas Gladstone, that he was denied the proper respect for his accomplishment because he was an Italian-American immigrant,” Latimer said.
During that time, Latimer said Italian-American immigrants were discriminated against, presumed to be part of organized crime, and that this stereotype may be the reason Del Bianco was not properly credited for his work.
“It is hard to remember in 2014 the prejudice that Italian-Americans faced in 1920s,” he said.
Lou Del Bianco raised $17,000 and received help from several in the community to erect a memorial in his grandfather's memory. It will include a 30-by-26-inch bronze plaque with information on Del Bianco, along with a relief of his face and a replica of Mount Rushmore that measures 8 feet from the blue stone base.
"I'm thrilled to memorialize him in Port Chester, and the next step is to memorialize him at Mount Rushmore," Lou said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.