The Italian Americans

About The Series

EPISODE FOUR: The American Dream (1945 to present day)

Frank Sinatra

In postwar America, Italian Americans seem finally to have arrived. They move to the suburbs, attend college and enter the middle-class. Italian American crooners define American cool, with Frank Sinatra leading the pack. But even as he skyrockets to fame, he is haunted by accusations of Mafia ties, an albatross Sinatra cannot escape from. Can Italian Americans ever fit into 1950s America, or will the specter of organized crime always bring them down? Popular media reinforces the negative stereotypes at the same time that Italian Americans are achieving success.

Governor Mario Cuomo, the son of Italian immigrants achieves great success but struggles to straddle both worlds, while his sons' success promises full assimilation and acceptance. Antonin Scalia becomes the first Italian American put on the Supreme Court, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi is elected the first woman and Italian American to Speaker of the House of Representatives. But will there ever be an Italian American President? Have Italian Americans finally shed the old stereotypes and become fully accepted in America?