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  • Wow.

    December 18, 2009

  • "The principal mine worker was the picconiere, the pickman, who, in addition to setting the explosives, splintered the exploded chunks of the sulfur with his pick. Each picconiere worked with a caruso, usually a young boy, who hauled out the sulfur from the depths of the mine in sacks that weighed about 75 pounds each. It was a long haul, sometimes as much as a half mile to the top of the shaft, an arduous task for children with backs not yet fully developed. ... The carusi were contracted to the picconiere by their parents, who, in return for a son's services, would be paid in advance, not with money, but with foodstuffs such as flour and grain. The carusi were required to work off the advance by doing about fifty such trips up and down the shaft each day."

    —Jerre Mangione and Ben Morreale, La Storia: Five Centuries of the Italian American Experience (New York: HarperPerennial, 1992), 81

    December 17, 2009