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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4268

Title: The Lucky Immigrant: The Public Life of Fortunato Rao
Authors: Harney, Nick,
Sturino, Franc,
Keywords: Fortunato Rao
trade union
labour activism
Italian communities
Italians in Toronto
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: Multicultural History Society of Ontario and CITD Press, University of Toronto at Scarborough
Series/Report no.: Ethnocultural Voices;
Abstract: This book is the life history of Fortunato “Lucky” Rao, a post-war Italian immigrant from the southern most peninsular region of Italy, Calabria. The small hill town of San Giorgio Morgeto sent hundreds of its people through chain migration overseas in search of work after the war. Ontario’s thirst for labour, and more specifically Toronto’s need for construction and manufacturing workers and Guelph’s for railway workers were major destination points. Mr. Rao was one of them. His life history is the story of an immigrant who found his place in the world of work, community and social justice in Ontario. With only fifth grade education, limited language skills but a desire to work, “Lucky” worked first in construction, then foundries but finally found his calling as a union organizer and advocate for the less privileged. In as much as Lucky’s work life and union activity with the United Steelworkers is intriguing and an important perspective on the relationship between immigrant labour, unions and ultimately the NDP political party, the man refuses to be easily categorized. Lucky is the driving force and President of the social club from the same hometown. These local activities are linked with his larger involvement with the Calabrian immigrant community, the largest sub-ethnicity of Italians in greater Toronto, and pan-Italian associations, newspapers, radio and television. He also created his own weekly cable community “Labour Show” with the help of the Steelworkers that lasted for over twenty years. His views of the world, of his status within the community and his activities with Italian community organizations make his story crucial for creating a fuller, more textured picture of immigrant life. His life cannot be seen only as the story a labour radical nor as a country rube sent on a migration journey by circumstances. Fortunato “Lucky” Rao reminds us that in the flow of labour to capital are creative and complex people whose stories need to be heard. Fortunately Mr.Rao has kept an extensive archival record of his life in the form photographs, letters and newspaper clippings. A selection of these will be included in the site.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/4268
ISBN: 772763089
ISSN: 0-7727-6308-9
Appears in Collections:EBooks (CITD 1993-2002)

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