The two good men alluded to here were Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti
; while they were indeed a long time gone by the time he was commissioned to write Ballads of Sacco & Vanzetti
, it remains to be seen just how good they were. By the time of their trial for the murder of two men during the course of a payroll robbery, Vanzetti had already been convicted of and jailed for an attempted armed robbery.
Sacco and Vanzetti were working-class immigrants from Italy; their case drew a lot of attention as many questioned the evidence. Guthrie was clearly on their side.
(Thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England. For more on Guthrie, see our interview with his granddaughter Anna Canoni