Presentation on theme: "We will begin promptly on the hour. The silence you hear is normal. If you do not hear anything when the images change, Caryn Koplik"— Presentation transcript:
We will begin promptly on the hour. The silence you hear is normal. If you do not hear anything when the images change, Caryn Koplik for assistance. Opportunity Costs: The Perils and Profits of Assimilation An Online Professional Development Seminar Sponsored by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University. Lewis Hine, Group on Italians at Ellis Island, 1905
americainclass.org2 The Profits and Perils of Assimilation FROM THE FORUM Challenges, Issues, Questions Why did immigrants come to America? How did their new life in America compare to the life they left behind? Did they feel the journey was worth it? What were the attitudes of Americans already living here toward the newcomers? Did Social Darwinism influence non-immigrant Americas attitude toward immigrants? Was America a truly a melting pot?
americainclass.org3 FROM THE FORUM Challenges, Issues, Questions What was the daily experience of immigrants like? How quickly did immigrants generally learn English? How many generations did it require for an immigrant family to become Americanized? How difficult was it for religious families to maintain their religious and cultural identities in the land of baseball and capitalism? The Profits and Perils of Assimilation
americainclass.org4 Joy Kasson Professor of American Studies and English University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Author of three books about late nineteenth- century and early twentieth-century American culture, with a special interest in literature and visual arts National Humanities Center Fellow The Profits and Perils of Assimilation
americainclass.org5 The Profits and Perils of Assimilation FRAMING QUESTIONS Who came to America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and why did they come? How did Americans regard newcomers during this period? How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons? What is the legacy for today of the immigration experience at the turn of the century?
americainclass.org6 The Profits and Perils of Assimilation UNDERSTANDINGS Immigration to America expanded in the late nineteenth century, crested in the first decade of the twentieth century, and slowed to a trickle with the immigration restriction law of Immigrants fueled expanding industries in the years after the Civil War and provided labor that transformed American culture. Large numbers of new migrants settled in American cities, and skyrocketing population put new stress on infrastructure and services.
americainclass.org7 UNDERSTANDINGS Many immigrants strove for acceptance through assimilation and Americanization. Many immigrants faced prejudice, ridicule, and misunderstanding. As America became more diverse, questions were raised about cultural identity and traditions that remain to this day: how can families or individuals retain aspects of their heritage and still participate in mainstream American society? The Profits and Perils of Assimilation
americainclass.org8 The Profits and Perils of Assimilation FRAMING QUESTIONS Who came to America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and why did they come? How did Americans regard newcomers during this period? How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons? What is the legacy for today of the immigration experience at the turn of the century?
americainclass.org9 Who came to America and why? Source: Derived from Table 1 in Office of Immigration Statistics, US Department of Homeland Security, Yearbook Of Immigration Statistics 2006 (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 2007.)
americainclass.org10 Who came to America and why? What might account for peaks and valleys in this chart? Immigration Act of 1924 restricted immigration Immigration and Nationality Act of 1964 abolished national origin quotas Immigration Act of 1990 increased legal immigration by 40%
americainclass.org11 Who came to America and why? Source: United States Historic Census Web Page. Place of Origin of the American Immigrant Population 1900
americainclass.org12 Who came to America and why? In 1900 immigrants from Northern and Western Europe still predominated But immigration from South and East Europe was growing
americainclass.org13 Analyzing a Visual Text Avoid judgmental and interpretive statements at first, and concentrate on careful looking. This does not require specialized language or knowledge. What do you see (specifically)? Take note of details and overall appearance of the painting/engraving/photograph. What do you know about how and when the visual text was created? What can the visual text tell us about its subject and historical period?
americainclass.org14 Who came to America and why? Lewis Hine, Group of Italians at Ellis Island, 1905
americainclass.org15 Reasons for Emigration Economic opportunity Political freedom Religious freedom Emigrating with a group Joining family members Escaping persecution Escaping poverty Desire for adventure Who came to America and why? Lewis Hine, Group of Italians at Ellis Island, 1905
americainclass.org16 Analyzing a Text Who is the speaker? When was the text written? What sort of text is it (book, letter, interview, diary)? What does the text tell us? How does the text convey the speakers attitude and perspective, as well as factual information? How does this text help us understand the experience of immigration as seen by the immigrants?
americainclass.org17 French Canadian Textile Worker, Phillippe Lemay, American Memory interview, Who came to America and why? Why did our people leave Canada and come to the States? Because they had to make sure of a living for their family and themselves for a number of years, and because they greatly needed money. The wages paid by textile mills was the attraction.... Our people didn't come to the States with money they had saved up, though, since they emigrated because they were really obliged to go where they could earn their daily bread and butter. To raise enough money to buy railroad tickets for the family and pay for food, rooms and other expenses on route, they had to faire encan, sell all their household goods at auction. That money was practically all gone when they arrived here, and all they possessed was the clothes they had on their backs, you might say.... As they were poor, all those who were old enough went to work without waiting to take a much needed rest. They boarded at first with relatives, if they were lucky enough to have any here, or in some French Canadian family until they could rent a tenement for themselves, mostly in corporation houses, and buy the furniture that was strictly needed. Money was very precious to us in those days and we spent it carefully, getting along with only the things we couldn't do without, but we were able to make a living and save something besides.
americainclass.org18 Who came to America and why? Andreas Ueland, Recollections of an Immigrant, 1929, American Memory Father died in January, That changed abruptly my whole aspect of life. An older brother was to have the farm after Mother; what was I to do? Mother wished to have me educated to teach, but I did not wish to be a teacher. There was left the choice to stay home and wait for something to turn up, go out as a laborer or to learn a trade, or to sea, or to America!... Norwegian and Swedish immigrants came here in canvas-covered wagons pulled by oxen, and where they found no human trace on the ground they unhitched, built log or sod houses for shelter, and out of the wilderness made what I now see. How proud they well may be of that hard, creative work! They have been given political independence and have earned economic independence of their native countries, and they must, I think, for their own development, and in the interest of their adopted country, attain intellectual and spiritual independence also, without a dual national sentiment.
americainclass.org19 How did Americans regard newcomers? The Chinese Must Go! But, Who Keeps Them? [spread]: From The Wasp: v. 2, Aug July 1878 American Memory, The Chinese in California
americainclass.org20 How did Americans regard newcomers?
americainclass.org21 How did Americans regard newcomers? Hinton Rowan Helper, The Land of Gold, 1855 According to the most reliable estimates, there are at the present time about forty thousand Chinese in California; and every vessel that arrives from the Celestial Empire brings additional immigrants. From a fourth to a fifth of these reside in San Francisco; the balance are scattered about over various parts of the State--mostly in the mines. A few females--say one to every twelve or fifteen males--are among the number; among these good morals are unknown, they have no regard whatever for chastity or virtue. You would be puzzled to distinguish the women from the men, so inconsiderable are the differences in dress and figure. The only apparent difference is, that they are of smaller stature and have smoother features. They are not generally neat in their outward habit... Is this Chinese immigration desirable? I think not; and, contrary to the expressed opinions of many of the public prints throughout the country, contend that it ought not to be encouraged. It is not desirable, because it is not useful; or, if useful at all, it is so only to themselves--not to us. No reciprocal or mutual benefits are conferred. In what capacity do they contribute to the advancement of American interests? Are they engaged in any thing that adds to the general wealth and importance of the country? Will they discard their clannish prepossessions, assimilate with us, buy of us, and respect us? Are they not so full of duplicity, prevarication and pagan prejudices, and so enervated and lazy, that it is impossible for them to make true or estimable citizens?
americainclass.org 22 How did Americans regard newcomers? Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872 OF course there was a large Chinese population in Virginia [City, Nevada]it is the case with every town and city on the Pacific coast. They are a harmless race when white men either let them alone or treat them no worse than dogs; in fact they are almost entirely harmless anyhow, for they seldom think of resenting the vilest insults or the cruelest injuries. They are quiet, peaceable, tractable, free from drunkenness, and they are as industrious as the day is long. A disorderly Chinaman is rare, and a lazy one does not exist. So long as a Chinaman has strength to use his hands he needs no support from anybody; white men often complain of want of work, but a Chinaman offers no such complaint; he always manages to find something to do. He is a great convenience to everybodyeven to the worst class of white men, for he bears the most of their sins, suffering fines for their petty thefts, imprisonment for their robberies, and death for their murders. Any white man can swear a Chinaman's life away in the courts, but no Chinaman can testify against a white man. Ours is the land of the free nobody denies thatnobody challenges it. [Maybe it is because we won't let other people testify.] As I write, news comes that in broad daylight in San Francisco, some boys have stoned an inoffensive Chinaman to death, and that although a large crowd witnessed the shameful deed, no one interfered.
americainclass.org23 How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? Discussion Question How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? Sheet Music, 1916 from American Memory Website
americainclass.org24 How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? The New Colossus, Emma Lazarus, 1883 Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she With silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
americainclass.org25 How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? Lewis Hine, Looking for Lost Baggage, 1905
americainclass.org26 Oscar Handlin, The Uprooted, 1951, pp. 3-5 How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history.... Immigration altered America. But it also altered the immigrants.... Emigration took these people out of traditional, accustomed environments and replanted them in strange ground, among strangers, where strange manners prevailed. The customary modes of behavior were no longer adequate, for the problems of life were new and different. With old ties snapped, men faced the enormous compulsion of working out new relationships, new meanings to their lives, often under harsh and hostile circumstances.
americainclass.org27 How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? Anzia Yezerskia, The Lost Beautifulness, 1920 OI WEH! How it shines the beautifulness! exulted Hanneh Hayyeh over her newly painted kitchen. She cast a glance full of worship and adoration at the picture of her son in uniform; eyes like her own, shining with eagerness, with joy of life, looked back at her. Aby will not have to shame himself to come back to his old home, she rejoiced, clapping her hands – hands blistered from the paintbrush and calloused from rough toil. Now hell be able to invite all the grandest friends he made in the army. The smell of the paint was suffocating, but she inhaled in it huge draughts of hidden beauty. For weeks she had dreamed of it and felt in each tin of paint she was able to buy, in each stroke of the brush, the ecstasy of loving service for the son she idolized. Ever since she first began to wash the fine silks and linens for Mrs. Preston, years ago, it had been Hanneh Hayyehs ambition to have a white- painted kitchen exactly like that in the old Stuyvesant Square mansion. Now her own kitchen was a dream come true.
americainclass.org28 Hilda Polacheck, The Sarnoff Family Embraces America, American Memory interviews, How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? The dream of buying a piano now became an obsession with Jacob. He had heard one of the men who worked in the rag-shop, say that his two brothers were coming from Russia and that they would be looking for a place to live. The idea came to Jacob that he could rent one of the bedrooms to these two men. He broached the subject to Sarah. She thought it would be a good idea. Sarah had heard that pianos could be bought on easy payments. Perhaps she could get enough from the man to make the payments on a piano. The boarders moved into one of the two bedrooms. A shiny new piano was moved into the bare parlor. A relative gave the family a discarded cot which was put into the parlor. On this Solly slept. Rosie was moved into the bedroom where her parents slept. Her bed was made up of the four chairs....
americainclass.org29 How did immigrants express their hopes and fears, and how did they relate their experiences? Hilda Polacheck, Louis T. I Sell Fish, American Memory interviews, 1939 Well, maybe you think my troubles was over? No, my troubles was just beginning. I found out that I could not become a citizen, and so I could not bring mine wife and the children to Chicago. Well, the first thing was to make a living. One of my brothers had a fish market. So he gave me a basket of fish and told me where to go to sell them. The first day, I made two dollars. When I could speak a little English, I peddled fish in the high-toned places, and I could charge a little more and I made a pretty good living. My wife was writing me letters how terrible it was in Poland. I sent her money every month. But it was terrible to have to keep quiet about being in Chicago. I could not get citizenship papers, because I was smuggled in. And without citizenship papers I could not bring my family to Chicago. Then my wife wrote me a letter that one of our children died. I had plenty troubles. I couldn't go back to Poland and I could not bring my family to Chicago. I didn't wanna go back to Poland. But I did want my family. Well, then a law was passed that all people who came to America in 1921 and before could get their citizenship papers. Well, I can tell you I got my papers as soon as I could. Then I brought my wife and my daughter to Chicago. And you can see, I still sell fish.
americainclass.org30 Israel Zangwell, The Melting Pot, program, 1916, American Memory What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons?
americainclass.org31 Israel Zangwell, The Melting Pot, 1916 DAVID Oh, I love going to Ellis Island to watch the ships coming in from Europe, and to think that all those weary, sea-tossed wanderers are feeling what I felt when America first stretched out her great mother-hand to me! VERA [Softly] Were you very happy? DAVID It was heaven. You must remember that all my life I had heard of America everybody in our town had friends there or was going there or got money orders from there. The earliest game I played at was selling off my toy furniture and setting up in America. All my life America was waiting, beckoning, shiningthe place where God would wipe away tears from off all faces.... What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons?
americainclass.org32 Israel Zangwell, The Melting Pot, 1916 DAVID To think that the same great torch of liberty which threw its light across all the broad seas and lands into my little garret in Russia, is shining also for all those other weeping millions of Europe, shining wherever men hunger and are oppressed... Shining over the starving villages of Italy and Ireland, over the swarming stony cities of Poland and Galicia, over the ruined farms of Roumania, over the shambles of Russia... Oh, Miss Revendal, when I look at our Statue of Liberty, I just seem to hear the voice of America crying: Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you restrest [He is now almost sobbing.] MENDEL Don't talk any moreyou know it is bad for you. DAVID But Miss Revendal askedand I want to explain to her what America means to me. What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons?
americainclass.org33 Israel Zangwell, The Melting Pot, VERA Look! How beautiful the sunset is after the storm! [David turns. The sunset, which has begun to grow beautiful just after Veras entrance, has now reached its most magnificent moment; below there are narrow lines of saffron and pale gold, but above the whole sky is one glory of burning flame.] DAVID [Prophetically exalted by the spectacle] It is the fires of God round His Crucible. [He drops her hand and points downward.] There she lies, the great Melting Potlisten! Can't you hear the roaring and the bubbling? There gapes her mouth [He points east] the harbour where a thousand mammoth feeders come from the ends of the world to pour in their human freight. Ah, what a stirring and a seething! Celt and Latin, Slav and Teuton, Greek and Syrian,black and yellow What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons?
americainclass.org34 Israel Zangwell, The Melting Pot, 1916 VERA [Softly, nestling to him] Jew and Gentile DAVID Yes, East and West, and North and South, the palm and the pine, the pole and the equator, the crescent and the crosshow the great Alchemist melts and fuses them with his purging flame! Here shall they all unite to build the Republic of Man and the Kingdom of God. Ah, Vera, what is the glory of Rome and Jerusalem where all nations and races come to worship and look back, compared with the glory of America, where all races and nations come to labour and look forward! [He raises his hands in benediction over the shining city.] Peace, peace, to all ye unborn millions, fated to fill this giant continentthe God of our children give you Peace. What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons?
americainclass.org35 Abraham Cahan, Yekl, A Tale of the New York Ghetto, 1896 Better she had never known this black year of a country! Here everybody says she is green. What an ugly word to apply to people! She had never been green at home, and here she had suddenly become so. What do they mean by it, anyhow? Verily, one might turn green and yellow and gray while young in such a dreadful place. Her heart was wrung with the most excruciating pangs of homesickness. And as she thus sat brooding and listlessly surveying her new surroundingsthe iron stove, the stationary washtubs, the window opening vertically, the fire escape, the yellowish broom with its painted handlethings which she had never dreamed of at her birthplacethese objects seemed to stare at her haughtily and inspired her with fright. Even the burnished cup of the electric bell knob looked contemptuously and seemed to call her Greenhorn! greenhorn! Lord of the world! Where am I?she whispered with tears in her voice. What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons?
americainclass.org36 Merton Lovett, interview with Roland Damiani, 1983 The children of Italian immigrants wish most of all to become Americans. They make haste to adopt the American customs and speech. In fact they worry and grieve their parents, who cannot understand or keep pace with them. It is not a little tragic sometimes, this conflict between the children and their elders. Yes, that is true. But a price must be paid for progress. In this case it is the parents that pay. They adapt themselves slowly to new and strange conditions. That is why we have emphasized adult education. It prevents misunderstanding. Too often the Italian youth seem cruel and disrespectful. The elders appear tyrants and kill-joys to their children. What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons?
americainclass.org 37 Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives, Chapter VI, The Bend, 1890 Here have the very hallways been made into shops. Three feet wide by four deep, they have just room for one, the shop-keeper, who, himself within, does his business outside, his wares displayed on a board hung across what was once the hall door. Back of the rear wall of this unique shop a hole has been punched from the hall into the alley and the tenants go that way. One of the shops is a tobacco bureau, presided over by an unknown saint, done in yellow and redthere is not a shop, a stand, or an ash-barrel doing duty for a counter, that has not its patron saintthe other is a fish-stand full of slimy, odd-looking creatures, fish that never swam in American waters, or if they did, were never seen on an American fish-stand, and snails. Big, awkward sausages, anything but appetizing, hang in the grocers doorway, knocking against the customers head as if to remind him that they are there waiting to be bought. What they are I never had the courage to ask. Down the street comes a file of women carrying enormous bundles of fire-wood on their heads, loads of decaying vegetables from the market wagons in their aprons, and each a baby at the breast supported by a sort of sling that prevents it from tumbling down. What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons?
americainclass.org38 What was the myth of the melting pot, and what were its pros and cons? Jacob Riis, Ready for Sabbath Eve in a Coal Cellar, c. 1895
americainclass.org40 Last Shot Have we addressed your questions?
americainclass.org41 Use The Forum To continue the discussion. To share fresh approaches and discussion questions that work. We will monitor the forum until March 15.
americainclass.org42 Next TPS-NHC Seminar Why Some New World Colonies Succeeded and Others Failed 7 p.m. August 7, 2012 Kathleen DuVal National Humanities Center Fellow Associate Professor of History University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
americainclass.org43 Please submit your evaluations. Thank You This seminar is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University.