FIORELLO LA GUARDIA Biography - Polititians


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Name: Fiorello Henry LaGuardia                                                         
Born: 11 December 1882 Bronx, New York                                                 
Died: 20 September 1947 Bronx, New York                                               
Fiorello Henry LaGuardia (born Fiorello Enrico LaGuardia; December 11, 1882 –       
September 20, 1947) (often spelled La Guardia [la 'gwardja]) was Mayor of New         
York for three terms from 1934 to 1945. He was popularly known as "the Little         
Flower," the translation of his Italian first name, Fiorello, or                       
perhaps a reference to his short stature. A Republican, he was a popular mayor         
and a strong supporter of the New Deal. LaGuardia led New York's recovery during       
the Great Depression and became a national figure, serving as President               
Roosevelt's director of civilian defense during the run-up to the United States       
joining the Second World War.                                                         
LaGuardia was born in the Bronx to an Italian lapsed-Catholic father, Achille La       
Guardia, from Cerignola, and an Italian mother of Jewish origin from Trieste,         
Irene Coen Luzzato; he was raised an Episcopalian. His middle name Enrico was         
changed to Henry (the English form of Enrico) when he was a child. He lived in         
Prescott, Arizona, his mother's hometown, after his father was discharged from         
his bandmaster position in the U.S. Army in 1898. LaGuardia served in U.S.             
consulates in Budapest, Trieste, and Fiume (1901–1906). Fiorello returned to the     
U.S. to continue his education at New York University. During this time, he           
worked for New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Children and as a       
translator for the U.S. Immigration Service at Ellis Island (1907–1910).             
He became Deputy Attorney General of New York in 1914. In 1916, he was elected         
to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he had a reputation as a fiery and         
devoted reformer. In Congress, LaGuardia represented then-Italian East Harlem         
almost continuously until 1933. According to his biographer-historian Howard           
Zinn, there were two brief interruptions, one to fly with U.S. forces in Italy         
during World War I, and the other to serve during 1920 and 1921 as president of       
the New York City Board of Aldermen.                                                   
As Democrats and Republicans cavorted like rehearsed wrestlers in the center of       
the political ring, LaGuardia stalked the front rows and bellowed for real             
action. While Ku Klux Klan membership reached the millions and Congress tried to       
legislate the nation toward racial 'purity,' LaGuardia demanded that immigration       
bars be let down to Italians, Jews, and others. When self-styled patriots sought       
to make the Caribbean an American lake, LaGuardia called to remove the marines         
from Nicaragua. Above the clatter of ticker-tape machines sounding their               
jubilant message, LaGuardia tried to tell the nation about striking miners in         
Zinn continued (p. viii): "The progressives of the twenties and early thirties,       
however, did not merely complain; they offered remedies, again and again....           
Most of the New Deal legislation was anticipated by LaGuardia... and others both       
before and after the 1929 crash, so that, when Franklin D. Roosevelt took his         
oath of office, a great deal of initial work had already been done."                   
LaGuardia was the director general for the United Nations Relief and                   
Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in 1946.                                         
LaGuardia loved music, and was famous for spontaneously conducting professional       
and student orchestras. He once said that the "most hopeful accomplishment" of         
his administration as mayor was the creation of the High School of Music & Art         
in 1936, now the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing       
Arts. In addition to LaGuardia High School, a number of other institutions             
are also named for him, including LaGuardia Community College. He was the             
subject of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Fiorello!. He was a             
member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity.                                     
He died at his home in the Bronx the age of 64 and is interred at Woodlawn             
Cemetery in the Bronx.                                                                 
A man of very short stature, LaGuardia's height is sometimes given as five feet.       
According to an article in the New York Times, however, his actual height was         
five feet, two inches.                                                                 
LaGuardia Place, a street in Greenwich Village which runs from Houston Street to       
Washington Square, is named for LaGuardia; there is also a statue of the mayor         
on that street.                                                                       
LaGuardia Airport, the smallest of New York's three major currently operating         
airports, bears his name; the airport was voted the "greatest airport in the           
world" by the worldwide aviation community in 1960.                                   
In 1940, LaGuardia received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold           
Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York."     
Rehov LaGuardia (LaGuardia Street) is a major road and the name of a highway           
junction in Tel-Aviv, Israel.                                                         
Ulica Fiorella LaGuardie is the name of a street in Rijeka.