Category: Immigrants in History

A look at immigrants that have helped shape American history and culture. But not the usual suspects.

Immigrants in History An Immigrant Warrior, Sonic, and Poet

An Immigrant Warrior, Sonic, and Poet

Welcome to our second Immigrant in History Post! Today’s immigrant is a much more recent addition the United States than our first honoree  . . . and he has local ties. July’s immigrant came to the U.S. as a refugee … well, actually, a two-time refugee. Tom Meschery was born as Tomislav Nikolayevich Meshcheryakov in 1938 in …

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History Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day! While we prepare to celebrate, we’d like to offer this short history lesson. The Declaration of Independence was adopted and approved by the Continental Congress on July 2, 1776. (That’s right, not the 4th). Fifty-six men signed the Declaration. They did so despite the fact that no signatures were required, the act …

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History Immigrants in History, Part One

Immigrants in History, Part One

A new monthly blog feature: we will be spotlighting an immigrant from American history that you may have never heard about. These are immigrants who made a real difference in American history but aren’t as well known today as they should be. Our inaugural figure is John Peter Altgeld. John Peter was born in Germany …

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History Banning Immigrants

Banning Immigrants

“Certain kinds of criminality are inherent in the Italian race. In the popular mind, crimes of personal violence, robbery, blackmail and extortion are peculiar to the people of Italy.” ~ The United States Immigration Commission, Dillingham Report, 1911. Sec. 11. (a) The annual quota of any nationality shall be 2 per centum of the number …

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History Decoration Day and Immigrants

Decoration Day and Immigrants

A brief story for Memorial Day. Memorial Day first began as Decoration Day shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865. It was exactly what it sounds like – a day to decorate the graves of the dead of the war. Recent revisions put the number of dead for the Civil War at 750,000. That …

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History One Hundred Years Ago … the Difference

One Hundred Years Ago … the Difference

PBS’ The American Experience just ran an outstanding three-episode show about the United States one hundred years ago. April saw the centennial anniversary of Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of war on Germany and our entry into the horrors of World War I. The American Experience’s The Great War is fascinating, infuriating, sad, and more than a …

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History The Sons of Immigrants

The Sons of Immigrants

Seventy-five years ago this week, Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. On its face, it was innocuous. Issued just over two months after Pearl Harbor it ‘merely’ gave the military the right to designate areas “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” In that respect, it looked like an order that allowed …

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History Immigration in 1900 and Baseball

Immigration in 1900 and Baseball

Between 1890 and 1914, 13.6 million people immigrated to the United States. If that number seems eerily familiar just remember that history has a way of repeating itself. By 1900, the United States was in upheaval. The debate of the day, sometimes acrimonious and divisive, sometimes driven by ‘fake news’, sometimes marvelously debated, was about …

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Immigrants in History Puritans, Washington Irving, and Christmas

Puritans, Washington Irving, and Christmas

Christmas. Greeting cards, decorations, ornaments, tinsel, lights, Christmas trees, nativity scenes, carols, poems, food, candy, candy canes, Santa Claus & Saint Nicholas, ribbons, presents, wrapping paper … almost everything you can conjure up about how we celebrate Christmas came about because of immigrants. Perhaps no other holiday that has been so influenced, so shaped, so …

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Immigrants in History Les Mis, 1848, and the Know Nothings

Les Mis, 1848, and the Know Nothings

1848 was a year of uprisings throughout Europe. Different countries called them different things although the word ‘Spring’ was prominent, as in the ‘People’s Spring.’ They arose in widely diverse nations but shared many similarities. France, Ireland, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, parts of the German States, all experienced popular uprisings spearheaded by the middle and working …

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