Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.

Thomas Ludwig John D'Alesandro Jr. (August 1, 1903 – August 23, 1987) was an American politician who was a U.S. Representative from Maryland's 3rd congressional district (1939–1947) and subsequently 39th Mayor of Baltimore (1947–1959). Thomas was the father of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, and Thomas D'Alesandro III, also a Mayor of Baltimore.

Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.
Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.jpg
39th Mayor of Baltimore
In office
May 16, 1947 – May 16, 1959
Preceded byTheodore McKeldin
Succeeded byJ. Harold Grady
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 3rd district
In office
January 3, 1939 – May 16, 1947
Preceded byVincent Palmisano
Succeeded byEdward Garmatz
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
from the Baltimore City's 1st district
In office
1926–1933
Personal details
Born
Thomas Ludwig John D'Alesandro Jr.

(1903-08-01)August 1, 1903
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
DiedAugust 23, 1987(1987-08-23) (aged 84)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Annunciata Lombardi
Children6, including Thomas III and Nancy

Early lifeEdit

D'Alesandro was born in Baltimore on August 1, 1903. He was the son of Maria Antonia Petronilla (née Foppiani) and Tommaso G. D'Alesandro. His father was born in Montenerodomo, Abruzzo, Italy, and his mother was born in Baltimore, to parents from Genoa, Liguria, Italy.[1] D'Alesandro attended Calvert Business College in Baltimore. Before beginning his political career, he worked as an insurance and real estate broker.[2]

CareerEdit

 
D'Alesandro being sworn in as a member of the Renegotiation Board in 1961

A Democrat, D'Alesandro served as a member of the Maryland State House of Delegates from 1926 to 1933. After serving in Annapolis, D'Alesandro was then appointed as General Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue, a post in which he served during 1933–1934. He then was elected to serve on the Baltimore City Council from 1935 to 1938.

D'Alesandro was then elected to the 76th Congress and to the four succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1939, until he resigned on May 16, 1947. While in Congress, D'Alesandro strongly supported the Bergson Group, a "political action committee set up to challenge the Roosevelt Administration's policies on the Jewish refugee issue during the Holocaust, and later lobbied against British control of Palestine" despite his equally strong support for Roosevelt's other policies.[3][better source needed]

Following his service in Congress he was Mayor of Baltimore for 12 years from May 1947 to May 1959.[4] D'Alesandro served on the Federal Renegotiation Board from 1961-1969 after being appointed by President John F. Kennedy.[2][5] On September 21, 1966, President Lyndon Baines Johnson's assistant Mildred Stegall requested a routine FBI name check on D'Alesandro.[6] FBI records released on January 6, 2021 showed D'Alesandro had been the subject of a Special Inquiry investigation in March and April of 1961 revealing numerous unsubstantiated allegations of association with criminals in Baltimore.[7]

Political campaignsEdit

D'Alesandro was a strong contender for Governor of Maryland in 1954, but dropped out after being implicated in receiving undeclared money from Dominic Piracci, a parking garage owner convicted of fraud, conspiracy, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.[8] Piracci was the father of Margie Piracci D'Alesandro, the wife of D'Alesandro's oldest son and namesake Thomas D'Alesandro III. Mayor D'Alesandro was later exonerated and never indicted.

After withdrawing, D'Alesandro tacitly supported University of Maryland President Curley Byrd, who lost, 54.5% to 45.5%, to Theodore McKeldin, the Republican incumbent and D'Alesandro's predecessor as Mayor of Baltimore.

In 1958, D'Alesandro ran for the United States Senate in a bid to defeat Republican incumbent J. Glenn Beall. D'Alesandro first had to spend money and time defeating perennial candidate/contractor George P. Mahoney in the Democratic primary. D'Alesandro then ran a strong campaign, losing to Beall in close election, the first time D'Alesandro had ever lost.[4]

In 1959, D'Alesandro was defeated in a bid for another term for Mayor of Baltimore by J. Harold Grady.[9]

Retrospective analysisEdit

In 2017, in an effort to counter D'Alesandro's daughter Nancy's efforts to remove statues of confederate figures from the halls of Congress, conservative commentators noted that in 1948, D'Alesandro dedicated the Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee Monument in his capacity as Mayor of Baltimore, along with the then-Governor of Maryland, William Preston Lane Jr.[10] His son, Thomas D'Alesandro III, who later served as Mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971, said about his father "His whole life was politics. He was not what you would call a flaming liberal, but he was a progressive."[4]

Personal lifeEdit

D'Alesandro was married to Annunciata M. ("Nancy") Lombardi (1909-1995).[11] Together, the couple had six children, five sons and a daughter:

  • Thomas Ludwig John D'Alesandro III (1929–2019), who was Mayor of Baltimore from 1967 to 1971.
  • Nicholas M. D'Alesandro (1930–1934)
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt D'Alesandro (1933–2007), who also served in the U.S. Army.
  • Hector Joseph D'Alesandro (1935–1995)
  • Joseph Thomas D'Alesandro (1937–2004)
  • Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro Pelosi (born 1940), who is a Representative from California, who served as the House of Representatives House Minority Leader between 2003 and 2007 and from 2011 to 2019, and as the Speaker of the House from January 4, 2007, until January 3, 2011, and again from January 3, 2019, to the present.[12]

D'Alesandro died on August 23, 1987, in Baltimore, Maryland.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Stated on Finding Your Roots, January 12, 2021
  2. ^ a b "D'ALESANDRO, Thomas, Jr. | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives". history.house.gov. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  3. ^ Medoff, Rafael, "Pelosi's father and the Holocaust." Jerusalem Post. April 11, 2007. April 16, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c Valentine, Paul W. (August 24, 1987). "BALTIMORE POLITICAL PATRIARCH THOMAS J. D'ALESANDRO JR. DIES". Retrieved December 18, 2017 – via www.WashingtonPost.com.
  5. ^ "Federal Renegotiation Board | JFK Library". www.jfklibrary.org. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  6. ^ "Amid Capitol riot, FBI released files from Kennedy-era investigation into Nancy Pelosi's father". February 23, 2021.
  7. ^ "Thomas D' Alesandro Jr. Part 01 of 01". FBI Records: The Vault — The Vault. Archived from the original on January 8, 2021.
  8. ^ "The Little World of Tommy" ,Time. April 26, 1954.
  9. ^ "J. Harold Grady, mayor, chief judge, dies at 84". BaltimoreSun.com. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  10. ^ Singman, Brooke (August 24, 2017). "Nancy Pelosi's dad helped dedicate Confederate statue". The New York Post. Retrieved August 26, 2017.
  11. ^ Baltimore Sun, October 1, 1928, p. 20.
  12. ^ Hirschfeld Davis, Julie. "Nancy Pelosi Elected Speaker as Democrats Take Control of House". The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2019.

External linksEdit

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 3rd congressional district

1939–1947
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of Baltimore
1947–1959
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Maryland
(Class 1)

1958
Succeeded by