Newsletter ArchiveGo Back
The Melting Pot is a play by Isreal Zangwill, first staged in 1908. It depicts the life of a Russian-Jewish immigrant family, the Quixanos. David Quixano has survived a pogram, which killed his mother and sister, and he wishes to forget this horrible event. The hero of the play proclaims : "America is God's Crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and reforming... Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Russians - into the Crucible with you all! God is making the American."
Since that writing, America's melting pot has expanded to include races much more disperse than European.
When I was growing up and attending the parish elementary school smack in the middle of a Polish neighborhood, the Sisters announced to the class that a new student would be attending our school. His name was "Sullivan". Sullivan? That was a name out of the readers, but not at all similar to the ...kiewicz and ...ski... and ....czyk names we were used to.
My world has naturally and thankfully blossomed to include names and people from places I never dreamed they would.
I had the great pleasure of attending a Naturalization ceremony of a friend and co-worker from India recently. There were 47 new citizens being sworn in from 17 different countries. It was incredibly moving to hear the stories shared by these people and their loved ones. What bound them all together, and to me as well, was their gratitude at the chance to be an American citizen, and the freedoms that carried with it.
There is no easy answer to controlling immigration, but immigration is exactly what this country was founded on, and still remains the key to our individuality.
Get to know some of the stories of the pursuit of freedom. The Devil's Highway by Luis Urrea, and Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life by Roger Daniels will introduce you to a few.