Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Fiorello H. LaGuardia
LaGuardia was born in The Bronx and grew up in New York City and was educated at the New York University. The family moved to Trieste after his father was discharged from his bandmaster position in the U.S. Army in 1898. La Guardia served in the U.S. consulate at Fiume (1904–1906). Fiorello returned to the U.S. to continue his education, and during this time he worked as a translator at Ellis Island (1907–1910).
He became the deputy attorney general of New York in 1914. In 1916 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he developed a reputation as a fiery and devoted reformer. In Congress, LaGuardia represented then-Italian East Harlem. Extending his record as a reformer, LaGuardia sponsored labor legislation and railed against immigration quotas. He was overwhelmingly defeated by incumbent James J. Walker in the 1929 mayoral election.
LaGuardia was elected mayor of New York City on an anti-corruption "fusion" ticket during the Great Depression. LaGuardia was the city's first Italian American mayor, but LaGuardia was far from being a typical Italian New Yorker. He was Republican, Episcopalian, had grown up in Arizona, and had an Italian Jewish mother.
LaGuardia is famous for, among other things, reading the comics on the radio during a newspaper strike, and pushing to have a commercial airport (Floyd Bennett Field, and now LaGuardia Airport) within city limits. Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and LaGuardia Community College are also named for him. He was also the subject of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical Fiorello! .
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