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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Theme > Immigration and Migration (x)

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An Economist Declares Mexicans "An Undesirable Class of Residents"

Discussions of the "Mexican problem" in the early 20th century often revolved around issues of race and culture, much as they did with other immigrant groups. Samuel Bryan published this study of Mexican immigrants in a leading Progressive social [...]

A Social Scientist Urges Americans to Give Mexicans "a Fair Chance in Life"

Progressive social scientists, like economist Alvin S. Johnson, disagreed with those who held Mexican and other immigrants as racially inferior an undesirable. Instead, he and his peers claimed that Mexican government and culture were "inferior" and [...]

A Social Worker Calls Upon Unions to Accept Mexican Immigrants

Ernestine Alvarado, of New York's YWCA, sharply criticized Americans who disparaged Mexico and did not welcome Mexican immigrants. She defended Mexican immigrants, calling them "bold dreamers," and castigated nativist stereotypes and unwelcoming [...]

Item Type: Speech
A Railroad Titan Explains Why the Chinese are Good for White Workers

The "divide-and-conquer" tactics used by bosses pitted different ethnic groups against one another and native-born workers against all immigrants. It often worked out better for white workers than for Asians. Charles Crocker, one of the "Big Four" [...]

A Senator Calls for a More Democratic Immigration System

In the midst of debating the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which concerned the rights of all Americans, regardless of race, to become citizens and vote, Senator Charles Sumner often urged more liberal and democratic application of the law. In [...]

California Workingmen Feel Threatened by Chinese Laborers

California held a series of anti-Chinese conventions in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s. After Chinese immigration was forbidden by federal law in 1882, white laborers organized boycotts of Chinese-owned businesses and won pledges from state leaders not [...]

The Poetry of Chinese Immigration

In this activity students read poems written by Chinese immigrants to understand the hopes of and challenges faced by Chinese immigrants during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Then students write an original poem about the Chinese [...]

The Poetry of Chinese Immigration worksheet

This worksheet helps student analyze poems by Chinese immigrants.

Item Type: Worksheet
"The Reason"

In the early twentieth century, African Americans had plenty of reasons to leave the rural South: disfranchisement, segregation, poverty, racial violence, lack of educational opportunities, and the drudgery of farm life. As the cartoon below from [...]

Item Type: Cartoon
Map of Railroad Routes Followed by Black Migrants

African-American migrants to the North chose their destinations primarily based on their state of origin: those from Georgia and the Carolinas headed to cities along the eastern seaboard like New York and Philadelphia; migrants from Alabama and [...]

Item Type: Map

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