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Immigration History

               Immigration History Film Clips

''Americans All'' (Pathfinder Magazine, 1938)

In an effort to keep the writers and actors of the Works Progress Administration busy, FDR's Department of the Interior produced a 26-part radio program intended "to prove that America could never have become so great without the contributions" of all the various hyphenated groups that make up the country. On Sunday afternoon throughout much of 1938, Americans could gather around their radios, if they had them, and hear their "identity groups" being praised by the Government: African-Americans tuned in on December 18th; the WASP show was on December fourth.


Free Enterprise And The Assimilation of Immigrants (Readers Digest, 1923)

The testimony given in this column from the early Twenties is as true today as it was then. It was written by a 1905 immigrant who observed that the first word immigrants learn when arriving in America is "BUY". When presented at every corner with products they'd never seen before in tandem with the smiling and encouraging face of the sales staff, the immigrant can't help but feel an inner drive to join the American society:

"And when he succumbs, why wonder that he grows more aggressive, demanding higher wages and striking when the demand is denied?"


Anticipating Multiculturalism (The Nation, 1915)

Horace M. Kallen (1888 - 1974) was a deep thinker who questioned the practice of "Americanization" (ie. assimilation). In this 1915 article, Kallen contended that although immigrants to American shores are required to develop allegiances to certain self-evident beliefs that are embraced throughout our republic - but outside of that, there is no reason that immigrants should not be able to maintain their own ethnic and cultural identities. In the Eighties, those who embraced this line of thinking preferred to call America a "salad bowl" as opposed to a "melting pot".


America's First Brush With Multiculturalism
(American Legion Weekly, 1922)

Like many Americans in the Twenties, the journalist who penned the attached article was totally irked by the concept of an American territory - bound for statehood - having a majority Asian population. He wrote at a time when the nation was deeply concerned about assimilating America's immigrants and his indignation can clearly be sensed.


A Grateful Immigrant Speaks ('47 Magazine, 1947)

An article by Atomic Age immigrant Juanita Wegner testifying as to her undying gratitude that she should be permitted to live in a nation with so many freedoms. Having spent much of her life on the run from the Fascists of Austria, Italy and Argentina, Wegner stated:

"For all my life I've wanted to be an American. I've dreamed about it, studied, worked for it...I've been an American for only a few days. But if I could have one wish it would be to go up to everybody I meet and say: 'Aren't we lucky to have this chance! Let's never forget it.'"


A Call to Repeal the Japanese Exclusion Act (Literary Digest, 1935)

The anonymous journalist opened this 1935 magazine article explaining how the Indian caste system took root and reasoned as to why he believed such a system was an inevitability in the United States as well.

"With the California Council on Oriental Relations waging an eloquent campaign for repeal of the Japanese Exclusion Act, a quota-basis solution is suggested."

Read another article about Asian immigration to California

Click here to read about the 1921 [anti-]Alien Land Bill in California.

You might also be interested in reading about the Yellow Peril in Canada.


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