Featured Ethnic Groups

Where were they from? When did they arrive? What did they do?

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Please select an ethnic group from the list on the left to see information about that group and how it contributes to the culture of the United States.

Lebanese Americans

Lebanese Americans

Where Did They Come From: Lebanon lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, north of Israel and west of Syria. It is four-fifths the size of Connecticut. The Lebanon Mountains, which run parallel to the western coast, cover most of the country, while on the eastern border is the Anti-Lebanon range. Between the two lies the Bekaa Valley, a major agricultural area.

When: After World War I, France was given a League of Nations mandate over Lebanon and its neighbor Syria, which together had previously been a single political unit in the Ottoman Empire. France divided them in 1920 into separate colonial administrations, drawing a border that separated mostly Muslim Syria from the kaleidoscope of religious communities in Lebanon. After 20 years of the French mandate regime, Lebanon’s independence was proclaimed on November 26, 1941. Under an agreement between representatives of Lebanon and the French National Committee of Liberation, most of the powers exercised by France were transferred to the Lebanese government on Jan. 1, 1944. The evacuation of French troops was complete 1946.

What region of the US did they settle: They settled mainly in Brooklyn, New York and Boston, Massachusetts. While they were marked as Syrians, the vast majority of them were Christians from Mount Lebanon. Upon entering America, many of the Lebanese and Syrians worked as peddlers. This wave continued through the 1920s. During the first wave, an estimated 100,000 Lebanese had immigrated to America settling  besides Brooklyn and Boston in Northern New Jersey. Some Lebanese ventured into the midwest settling in Detroit, Michigan. Others bought farms in Texas, South Dakota and Iowa.
What occupations did they take part in:  Lebanese-Americans worked in a variety of  occupations.  About 60 percent of working Lebanese-Americans are executives, professionals, office and sales staff.
What are the family patterns:   Lebanese Americans are a deeply religious which impacts their family values. Family is at the core of Lebanese social identity and loyalty to family has traditionally superseded all other allegiances. Each person is expected to protect the family’s honor. In Lebanese culture, roles are often defined by gender, and this social definition anchors both men and women in their respective roles. Women are to be protected by other family members. Men are the undisputed heads of their families. In Lebanese -American families, the welfare of the group is considered more important than the needs of any single individual. Lebanese -Americans are known for their elaborate and warm hospitality and it is considered rude not to offer food and drink to a guest.
As with other ethnic groups Americanization, with its emphasis on youth, personal achievement, individualism, and independence has eroded some of these traditional beliefs and practices.. Though the family is highly valued among Lebanese -Americans the belief in family honor has lessened somewhat in part because families are not living together in close circles. Major family roles have become less gender centered in the United States.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:   YES!
By the time they began immigrating to the United States, the immigrants from Greater Syria had attended British, French, Russian, and American schools in their homeland for half a century or longer. These foreign schools had also stimulated the establishment of local government schools, and many of these schools encouraged the education of girls. When they arrived in the United States, the Lebanese adapted to the American school system and culture. Their attitudes paralleled the evolution of the attitudes of other Americans toward education. By the third generation, the education of girls was considered equal in importance to that of boys. The generation of Lebanese Americans born after World War II attended college at the same rate as the rest of the nation’s youth, studying business, medicine, law, pharmacy, computer science, and engineering. Because the vast majority of third-generation Lebanese Americans are middle class, they enjoy a higher educational level than Americans on average.

 

What are the basic demographics today? Lebanese Americans are the largest Arab group in America, comprising 0.16% of the American population (of the American Community Survey estimations for year 2007) and 32.4% of all Arabs. Over three million Americans are estimated to have at least partial Lebanese ancestry according to Lebanese American activists.

Fun facts:
The 1st school of law was built in Lebanon
The name of the BIBLE comes from the name of our city BYBLOS
Lebanon is the country that has the most books written about it
The Phoenicians, the ancient Lebanese, were the first to develop an alphabetic script in 1100 B.C.  They did so to facilitate their prosperous trade further.
Lebanon is the only country in the Middle East that does not have a desert
On January 22, 1976, a guerrilla force blasted into the vaults of the British Bank of the Middle East in Bab Idriss, cleaning out the contents of the safe deposit. The boxes of cash and other valuables were estimated by former finance minister Lucien Dahdah at $50 million. It was the single most lucrative bank robbery in history, occurring during the worst civil unrest period ever in Beirut, Lebanon.

Appalachian Americans

Appalachian Americans

Where Were They From:  The name Appalachian (App-a-latch-i-an) comes from the word Appalachee from the Appalachee Indians. Appalachia is in the southeastern United States. It is also the second largest mountain system in North America. The mountains begin at the south easternmost tip of Canada, and end in Central Alabama, stretching 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers). There is a Northern Appalachian region and a Southern Appalachian region. The Southern Appalachian region is divided into three main sections—the Blue Ridge, the Great Valley, and the Ridge-and-Valley Province. The tallest mountain is Mt. Mitchell (6,684 ft or 2,037 meters) near Asheville, North Carolina.

What regions of the US are included: The states of the Southern region of the Appalachians are eastern Kentucky, southeastern Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

What occupations did the first inhabitants take part in: The type of agriculture found in most of the region is general farming; that is, no discernible product or combination of products dominates the farm industry. Extensive animal husbandry is the most common and probably best agricultural use of the steep slopes. A number of crops, such as tobacco, apples, tomatoes, and cabbage, are locally important in some valley areas, with small plots of tobacco being the most common cash crop in the Southern Appalachians. Corn is the region’s leading row crop, but it is normally used on the farm for animal fodder.
After the better part of a century of growth, the dominant coal industry fell into a period of decline beginning in the 1950s. Production dropped as petroleum and natural gas replaced coal as a major fuel source. Between 1950 and 1960, many coal counties lost a full one-quarter of their population. The resulting economic depression, blending with the poverty common to Appalachia, created areas that still suffer from harsh economic and social conditions.

What are the family patterns, rituals:  The family was nuclear because of the need for constant mobility, which made it difficult to maintain large families. However, with the development of settled agriculture, people became less mobile and the extended family came into existence because it provided the necessary labor to work the fields. Industrialization broke up the extended family and stunted the growth of the nuclear family as the dominant family type (Turner, 1985:311-312; Julian, 1977:321). The nuclear family became isolated from the kinship network (Parsons, 1951: 510; Reiss, 1971:265).
However, the conception of the extended family as the dominant family type in early America is probably inaccurate. It is quite possible that the extended family is a romantic ideal and has never been the most prevalent family type in the United States. The family in the United States usually does not consist of three generations or more existing in the same household, but family members do live close to one another or in the same community, and still display familial dependence.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling: The dialect spoken by Appalachian people has been given a variety of names, most of them somewhat derogatory. Educated people who look with disfavor on this particular form of speech believe that the English Language, which they conceive as unchanging and fixed for all time – has been taken and, through ignorance, shamefully distorted by the mountain folk.

What are the basic demographics today?  Since 2000, 28 of Appalachia 34 persistent-growth counties grew faster than the national rate of 3.3%; 14 of these counties (11 of which are in Georgia, including eight in greater Atlanta) have grown at least 10%. Of the six persistent-growth counties with the slowest post-2000 growth, the 2000 census and the 2003 population estimates show the dynamic demographic patterns in the Appalachian region. Throughout the 20th century, Appalachia has grown more slowly since 1990 than the rest of the United States—although the lag is not nearly as great as it has been in several other decades (for example, the 1950s, 1960s, and 1980s). Indeed, 327 of the 410 Appalachian counties increased their population during the 1990s—up from 214 a decade earlier. 72 of the 83 counties that did lose people in the 1990s did so more slowly than they had in the 1980s.

Fun Facts: 
Lowest elevation: 124 feet – near the Trailside Museum and Zoo at Bear Mountain, New York.

The name of this mountain range is derived from the name of an Indian tribe “Apalachees” who once used to inhabit this region.

Appalachian Mountains are a rich source of anthracite coal and bituminous coal.

Towards the West and South of the Hudson River valley is a chain of lowlands which is referred to as the ‘Great Appalachian Valley.’

The Appalachian Trail is a famous hiking trail, a paradise for all hikers.

It takes approximately 5 million footsteps to walk the entire length of the Trail.

The first observance of “Mother’s Day” was in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908.

The first free rural mail delivery started in Charles Town, West Virginia on October 6, 1896.

The Appalachian Amusement Center is home to the world’s finest Vertical Wind Tunnel. Built by Vertical Wind Tunnel Corporation, this VWT is very wide, smooth, fast and quiet. Located in Western North Carolina, just a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Appalachian Amusement Center features flight instruction facilities.

Resources and Additional Readings

The Appalachian Reading Center, Inc.
http://www.appalachianreading.org/

Appalachian Amusement Center
http://www.verticalwind.com/aac.html

Appalachian dulcimer traditions
http://books.google.com/books?id=7RcU_aQNFD4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=

appalachian&hl=en&ei=5qhvTsS9D8OCgAeZ9_WMBQ&sa=X&oi=book_

result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CFQQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false

The Appalachian Region

http://www.arc.gov/appalachian_region/TheAppalachianRegion.asp

Chinese Americans

Chinese Americans

Where Did They Come From:

Ever since its founding in 1776, and even before then, the United States has attracted immigrants from around the world. For well over two centuries, people have flocked under this nation’s protective wings as opportunists, sojourners, missionaries, refugees, and even illegal aliens.

When:

The Chinese, with a population of 435,062 in the 1970 U.S. Census, were the second larger Asian-American ethnic group in the United States.
The number includes Chinese both on the U.S. mainland and in Hawaii.  A slight majority 229,237 –are American-born. However, the number of foreign-born has increased dramatically since 1965.

What region of the US did they settle:

With the Statue of Liberty greeting Europeans entering Ellis Island, and The Golden Gate Bridge greeting Chinese and other Asians into San Francisco, the U.S. has long since been a refuge of the world, with opportunities abounding and freedom for all. Over time, millions around the world have found emigrating to the U.S. as the only alternative to starvation, death, or a life full of hardship and suffering. With thousands from nations spanning the globe, America has become a mosaic of people, culture, and hope.
Most Chinese settled on the west coast.

What occupations did they take part in:

Chinese immigrants were often wealthy, successful merchants, along with skilled artisans, fishermen, and hotel and restaurant owners. For the first few years they were greatly received by the public, government officials, and especially by employers, for they were renowned for their hard work and dependability.  The Chinese did not only mine for gold, but took on jobs such as cooks, peddlers, and storekeepers. In the first decade after the discovery of gold, many had taken jobs nobody else wanted or that were considered too dirty. However, in 1870, hasty exploitation of gold mines and a lack of well-paying jobs for non-Asians spurred sentiment that the “rice-eaters” were to blame. By 1880, a fifth were engaged in mining, another fifth in agriculture, a seventh in manufacturing.  Others were domestic servants, and laundry workers. Approximately 30,000 Chinese worked outside of California in such trades as railroad work, mining, common laborers, and in many of the service trades. During the 1860′s, 10,000 Chinese were said to be involved in the building of the western leg of the Central Pacific Railroad. The average railroad payroll for the Chinese was $35 per month. The cost of food was approximately $15 to $18 per month.

 

What are the family patterns:

The small size, simple structure and diversified patterns of family have become the main features of modern Chinese families.
Experts point out that a traditional Chinese family generally consists of at least two generations of people including husband and wife and children and there universally exists the phenomenon of three generations, four generations and even five generations living under the same roof.  That is to suggest, a big family is often held in great esteem.
Are they a group that appreciates schooling:

As decades passed, the situation between the Chinese and the Americans improved. Such events as the Chinatowns turning from crime and drug ridden places to quiet, colorful tourist attractions, well-behaved and school conscientious Chinese children being welcomed by public school teachers.  China became allies with the U.S. after World War II, all of which began to pave the way for the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act.  As immigration from China resumed and increased many Chinese female immigrants came to the US and many couples were reunited after decades apart.

What are the basic demographics today?

China has a lot of people.  As of July 2008, the population of China is 1.3 billion, according to About.com’s Geography Guide. That phenomenal number is matched by enormous early population figures. In “Relocation of Civilization Centers in Ancient China: Environmental Factors,” by Duan Chang-Qun, Gan Xue-Chun, Jeanny Wang, and Paul K. Chien, population figures are given as 13.55 million, in 2200 B.C., during the Xia Dynasty; 20 million in 221 B.C. during the Qin Dynasty; and 59.59 in A.D. 2 under the Western Han Dynasty. After that, the population falls, and then, a millennium later, surpasses the 60 million figure under the Southern Song Dynasty, in 1193, when it hits 76.81 million.

In the US there are approximately 2.9million Chinese Americans OR, 1% of the US population.  This is the largest single Asian ethnic group in the US.  OR, 1 of 4 Asians in the Us are Chinese.

Fun facts:
The Chinese Lunar Calendar is 2,640 years older than our own and never begins on January 1st, nor does it begin on the same date each year. It can begin any time between January 21st and February 18th, depending on the date of the New Moon in Aquarius. Each year is named for an animal. Every 12 years this cycle begins again. The Chinese say that the animal ruling the year you were born will influence your life. In 2009, Chinese New Year begins January 26th and will be the year of the Ox.
Want to know what animal rules the upcoming years? Here’s a chart that tells when Chinese New Year begins and the animal sign that belongs to it.
Chinese New Year Activities and Games

For Further Reading:   http://www.c-c-c.org/aboutus.htm

Amish Americans

Amish Americans

Where Were They From:

  • Old-Order Amish Mennonites are a Germanic people who stem from the Swiss Anabaptists movement that emerged during the Reformation in the 16th century.
  • They come from out of Europe. They lived in Switzerland, Alsace-Lorraine, the Palatinate (now West Germany), France and Holland.

When:

  • The Amish originated between 1693 and 1697 as a dissenting orthodox faction of the Swiss Anabaptists (Also at the same time called Mennonites after their founder, Menno Simmons). They began setting in the U.S. from 1727 to 1790. Also, a second wave came from 1815 to 1865.

What region of the US did they settle:

  • They settled originally in Pennsylvania, then later in Ohio, New York, Indiana, and Illinois.

What occupations did they take part in:

  • They are excellent farmers and usually live on productive soils, most notably in Lancaster, PA. The young are given meaningful roles in family farm work. Amish children help their parents on the farm until themselves get married, and then the parents try to secure farms with their children. Influenced by their self-reliant experience in Europe, the Amish combine family labor and management with an integrated agricultural way of life.

What are the family patterns, Rituals:

  • The Amish are distinguished by their simple ways of living, non-conformist attitudes, in group marriage patterns, and resistance to modernization. By living in Rural areas, speaking the Pennsylvania German dialect, using horses for farming, and dressing in “plain” clothing resembling that of Europeans two centuries ago, they have maintained socially distinct communities even though they are neighbors to non-Amish people. Biblical High German is used in religious services, but all Amish people also speak English. They meet for worship in their farm house usually every two weeks for every 3 or 4 hours.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:

  • No, their rules forbid members from having a practical elementary education. It took them until 1940 to even establish any schools at all.

What are the basic demographics today?

  • The Amish have increased from approximately 5,000 in 1900 to about 80,000 today. They don’t make a set income because they mainly just farm which doesn’t have a guaranteed amount each year.

Fun Facts:

  • Tourism has become a part of Amish life.  Tourists come from all over the US to visit their farms, purchase their home made goods, including the candy “Turkish Taffy.”
  • Two movies of interest that depict the Amish are:
  • (1) Kingpin(1996) PG-13

The Farrelly brothers dumb down and goof up pro bowling — and gross us out in the process. After bowler Roy Munsen (Woody Harrelson) swindles the wrong crowd and is left with a hook for a hand, he settles into impoverished obscurity. That is, until he uncovers the next big thing: an Amish kid named Ishmael (Randy Quaid). So, the corrupt and the hopelessly naïve hit the circuit intent on settling an old score with Big Ern (Bill Murray).
(2)  Witness(1985) R
In director Peter Weir‘s tense thriller, cop John Book (Harrison Ford) goes undercover in an Amish community to protect a boy who witnessed a murder. Once inside, the faux-Amish Block must adjust to major culture shock while cautiously romancing the child’s mother (Kelly McGillis). Suspense and romance intermingle memorably in William Kelly’s airtight script, a frequent model for budding screenwriters.

African Americans

African Americans

Where Were They From:

Africa.  All or most African Americans are descendants from the Continent of Africa. There were an estimated 24 million Afro-Americans in the United States in the mid-1970, a figure making them not only the largest ethnic group in the America, but the second only to Afro-Brazilians in the Western Hemisphere.

When:
The origins of individual African Americans cannot be determined accurately. European record-keepers were not careful about the subtler differences among Africans, and their records often referred to the general place of embarkation, not to the specific groups within the area.
The permanent settlement of Africans in North American began around 1619 when a Dutch frigate sold 20 blacks to English colonists at Jamestown, a year before the Mayflower landed Pilgrims at Plymount.

What region of the US did they settle:
According to recent estimates, approximately 10 million slaves landed in the Western Hemisphere.  The majority arrived in North American colonies but  mostly in the south.

What occupations did they take part in:
About 60 percent of them arrived in the 18th century and were destined for the sugar plantations of Brazil and the Caribbean, British North America and French Louisiana.  Most were slaves and slavery lasted some 400 years.  In contemporary times most were laborers.

What are the family patterns, Rituals:
Planters sought to diminish the authority of the black male in the family, possibly to reinforce their self-images as plantation patriarchs, but they have to allow a certain amount of male assertiveness and responsibility in order to maintain order and morale. Most slaves sought to maintain stable two-parent households, and many marriages lasted for ten years or more suggesting that marriage and family were internalized cultural values.  The large percentage of sons named for their fathers suggests the important status of the male parent . Naming practices also indicate the resilience of African concepts of kin: children were named for grandparents, uncles, and aunts; and the practice of addressing elders as “auntie” and “uncle” was a quite likely a slave invention to show respect.

 

Are they a group that appreciate schooling:
The lowering of barriers to schooling, collegiate and professional education offered hope of even more rapid equalization in the future.  There was more than 85 percent increase in black college enrollment between 1964 and 1968, most of it attributable to the 144 percent expansion of black enrollment in white college.  “Black Americans came bearing three gifts: the gift of story and song, the gift of sweat and brawn, and the gift of spirit.”

 

 

 

What are the basis demographics today?

African Americans comprise the United States’ largest racial minority, accounting for 12.1 percent of the total US population in 2000. This population is concentrated largely in the southern states and urban areas.

Fun Facts:
Given that widespread literacy and education were 20th –century phenomena for Afro-Americans, the contributions of black scientists and the more than 300 patents awarded to black inventors before 1900 are impressive. During the 19th century Norbert Rillieux (1806-1894) invented the vacuum-cup evaporation process which revolutionized sugar refining, Jan E. Matzerliger (1852-1889) .

 

Famous People

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rosa L. Parks

Medgar Evers

Arthur Shores

Helen Shores Lee

Fred Shuttlesworth

B B King

Malcolm X

Michael Donald
Fannie Lou Hammer
Maya Angelou
Thurgood Marshall
May McLeod Bethune
John Brown
Linda Brown
Ruby Bridges
Frederick Douglass
Marcus  Garvey
Jesse Jackson

Homer Plessy
Dred Scott
Sojourner Truth

Thomas C. Holt

Polish Americans

Polish Americans

Group:           Polish Americans

Where Did They Come From: All Polish Americans come from Poland.

 

When: The history of Polish immigration to America falls into four periods. The first, from 1608 to about 1800, was one in which small numbers of people came over for personal reasons. The second was from 1800 to 1860 which involved more political reasons. The third took place from 1860 to 1914 which was the major wave and involved more political and religious reasons for moving. The fourth was the years since World War I which has been mainly refugees. The wave of immigrants that is most significant is the second wave. Approximately 2.5 million Polish immigrants came to America during this time frame

What region of the US did they settle: Most Polish immigrants tended to flock to the rural industrialized cities in the Midwest and middle Atlantic States such as New York, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago and St. Louis. They became steelworkers, meat packers, miners and eventually autoworkers.

What occupations did they take part in: The Polish that arrived first which was about a tenth of the total number were able to live out in the country and farm. However, those arriving later had to be content with industrial jobs in the city until they could afford to buy a farm.

 

What are the family patterns: Their social life, working conditions, their socioeconomic level, and spiritual needs were largely those of a working-class Roman Catholic society. Polish communities developed and prospered in similar ways, producing a rich and active cultural life.
Rituals: Polish immigrants were quick to establish parish churches in the United States. In most cities they had developed from meetings of the local religious society in the local store or inn.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling: No, because priority was given to real-estate and church contributions, little money was available for educating the young, particularly before 1940.

 

What are the basic demographics today? The total population of Polish Americans today is 10,050,122. Polish Americans rank somewhat above national averages in education, income, home-ownership, home-values, home ownership and marriage rates. They are below the average in poverty and divorce.

Fun facts: Across the nation, there are also many Polish-Americans who are prominent in public life, such as former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski; former general and ambassador Edward Rowny; Governor Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska); U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)–Frank’s daughter; and Barbara Mikulski (D- Maryland); Congressmen Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois), who recently succeeded his father, Bill Lipinski; and John Dingell (D-Michigan), who has served his district for over 50 years; and former Congressman Ed Derwinski (R-Illinois), who also served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Prominent Polish-American clergymen currently include Cardinal Adam Maida, the Archbishop of Detroit; Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of Cincinnati, Ohio; Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, Florida; and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Chicago.

For Further Reading:

Bukowczyk, John. 2007. A History of the Polish Americans. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

Cuban Americans

Cuban Americans

        

Where Did They Come From: Cuban immigration to the United States can be described as having four distinct waves. The first, from 1959-62, began with the departure of Cubans following the rise of Fidel Castro. The initial exodus primarily consisted of upper and upper-middle class families in professional and managerial occupations. The second wave, from about 1965 to 1974, featured orderly departure programs administered by the U.S and Cuban governments. The so-called “freedom flights” brought middle and working class Cubans to the United States.

Cuban arriving after the 1959 revolution have been labeled exiles or political refugees because their emigration was a response to the profound changes instituted by a new government.

 

When: Cubans, for the most part, have come to the United States relatively recently, only in the 1970s.

 

What region of the US did they settle: The 1970 census found Cubans living in every state except Wyoming and Vermont.  99 percent were urban dwellers in 1970.  Metropolitan Miami (Dade County, Fla.) is the undisputed center; in 1970 more than 72 percent of all Cuban in the United States lived there.  Most of the rest are in New York City, Jersey City and Newark, N.J., Los Angeles, and Chicago.

 

What occupations did they take part in: There are numerous Cubans-owned neighborhood grocery stores in Miami, specializing in traditional foods that are usually not found in supermarkets.  A modest but flourishing Cuban-owned industry imports, produces, processes, and distributes many of the staples of the Cuban diet.

 

What are the family patterns: The Cuban household in the United States is likely to include at least one relative, most often a widowed and dependent grandparent, in addition to the nuclear family.  Cubans still place great value on family ties; the family is usually viewed as stable and strong.

 

Are they a group that appreciates schooling: The U.S. Cubans are fairly well educated. More than 51 percent of those over 25 have completed four years of high school or more, and nearly 15 percent are college graduates.
A growing number of Cubans now teach in U.S. colleges and universities.
The Cuban community of Miami also has its own private elementary and secondary schools.

 

What are the basic demographics today? Compared with the rest of the Hispanic population in the United States, Cubans are older, have a higher level of education, higher median household income and higher rate of home ownership. While there are important differences among Cubans, particularly between those who arrived before 1980 and those who arrived in subsequent years, as a group Cubans in the United States are distinct in many ways from the rest of the Hispanic population.

 

Fun facts:  Cuba is a country situated in the northern Caribbean, at the point where the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean converge. The country comprises of the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud and several adjacent small islands. It lies to the south of the eastern United States and The Bahamas, west of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Haiti, and east of Mexico. The Cayman Islands and Jamaica lie to the south of Cuba. One of the unique features of the country is that it has no plants or animals that are lethal to humans. In case you want to know more about Cuba, make use of the information provided below.

Fun & Interesting Facts about Cuba

  • The official name of Cuba is the ‘Republic of Cuba’.
  • The capital city of Cuba is Havana.
  • Cuba comprises of more than 4,000 islands and cays.
  • Cuba gained independence from Spain in 1902.
  • The official language of Cuba is Spanish, but English is also widely spoken there.
  • The main religions of Cuba are Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jehovah’s Witness, Jewish and Santeria.
  • The national flower of Cuba is is Hedychium coronarium J. Koenig, commonly known as “flor de mariposa” (Butterfly Flower.
  • The national bird of Cuba is “Tocororo” or Cuban Trogon, from the family of Trogonidae.
  • The island of Cuba is the largest and second-most populous island of the Greater Antilles.
  • Cuba is the most populous insular nation in the Caribbean.
  • It was Christopher Columbus who sighted the island of Cuba in October 1492, during his first voyage of discovery. However, it was Diego Velasquez who colonized the island for Spain.
  • The official currency of Cuba is the Cuban Peso (CUP), divided into 100 centavos. However, the ‘tourist’ currency is the Peso Convertible (CUC).
  • Cuba is known throughout the world for its cigars, such as Monte Cristo, Romeo y Julietta and Cohiba.
  • Carlos Acosta, the world famous ballet dancer, was trained through the Cuban state ballet system.
  • Around 22 percent of Cuban territory is made up of protected natural areas.

For Further Reading:
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Telex-from-Cuba/Rachel-Kushner/9781416561033/reading_group_guide

 

http://www.solwayscuba.com/index.php?module=en/cuba-guide/cuba-info-detail/cuba-culture

http://www.whereaboutspress.com/html/concuba.html

Maria Cristina Gracia
http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/6649.php

Scotch-Irish Americans

Scotch-Irish Americans

     

Where Were They From: The term Scotch-Irish is ambiguous; it does not refer to people of mixed Scottish and Irish ancestry, as the name might seem to imply, but to the descendants of the Presbyterians from lowland Scotland who settled in Ulster, the northernmost province of Ireland, in the 17th century and subsequently emigrated from there to America.

When: The first known use of the term Scotch-Irish dates from 1695 in a report by Sir Thomas Laurence, the Secretary of Maryland.  A generation later, the name had become current in Pennsylvania and by the 1750s was fairly widely accepted throughout the colonies.
Scots migrated to Northern Ireland and at least 2 million of their descendants made a second move across the Atlantic.  Although Scotch-Irish emigration is often thought of as a phenomenon mainly of the colonial period, it did not in fact lose its impetus until the 20th century
What region of the US did they settle: The Scotch-Irish settlements in the Chesapeake Bay region probably had begun at this period, but taking the earliest distinct mention of Scotch-Irish settlements as the safest guide, their chronological order appears to be as follows: 1. Maryland, 1680; 2. South Carolina, 1682; 3. Pennsylvania, 1708; 4. New England, 1718.
Of these the Pennsylvania settlements were the most numerous and the most important in their bearing upon American national development. Consideration of them will be reserved until after some account has been given of all the other settlements.
In the colonial period the Scotch-Irish played a significant role in the westward expansion of the frontier in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinas.
What occupations did they take part in: Iron ore + limestone + charcoal + water power + labor = iron.  Because the Cumberland Valley was rich in all of the natural resources – iron ore, limestone, forests, and running water – needed to produce iron, it was the ideal place for the establishment of numerous iron works in the 18th and 19th centuries.  The eastern and western borders of Franklin County held the richest iron ore deposits in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and perhaps in the nation, generating at least ten different ironworks in the county.  An ironworks complex, such as the Mont Alto ironworks, might have included the iron master’s mansion, cottages for the employees, gardens and working farms, livestock including horses and mules, one or two iron furnaces, charcoal pits, chafery (finery) forges, foundry, a rolling mill, and later a nail factory.  The ironworks were the largest single employers in their time period. At the Mont Alto Furnace alone, 500 workmen were employed. In 1840, Franklin County had eight operating furnaces, 11 forges, chaferies, and rolling mills.

 

What are the family patterns, Rituals: Although the legal barrier to marriage between Catholics and Protestants was lifted in 1611, such unions weren’t common. The natives bore religion like a shield against their alien persecutors. Nevertheless, adolescent hormones sometimes overcame the dread of losing one’s immortal soul, and a desire to rise from the pauper class was enough to cause some natives to renounce Catholicism. The prospect of starvation led many to contract with speculators who sold human cargo in American ports where they sometimes became the property of Irish Protestants who had immigrated earlier. Nevertheless, when indentured contracts expired, or when they escaped, these true Irish with names like Flynn, Brady, Casey, Callahan, and Kennedy also followed the frontier.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:  The multiple affiliations of men like Traynor and Echols demonstrate the extent to which the Scotch-Irish were able to function as American without rejecting kinship with those of similar antecedents.  The Scotch-Irish Society of America was established in 1889 to “preserve the history and perpetuate the achievements of the Scotch-Irish race in America.” The founders of the organization were relatively high in social and economic status, some occupied positions of leadership in American society.  They included Presbyterian  clergymen like the Reverend John Hall.

What are the basic demographics today? The Census Bureau defines ancestry as a person’s ethnic origin, racial heritage, descent, or “roots,” which may reflect their place of birth, place of birth of parents or ancestors, and ethnic identities that have evolved within the United States.

The following table includes the number Scotch-Irish living in the United States. “Scotch-Irish” are defined as people who marked their ethnic origin as “Scotch-Irish” on the Census survey in 1990 and/or 2000.

Total Number (1990)

5,617,773

% of US Population (1990)

2.3

Total Number (2000)

4,319,232

% of US Population (2000)

1.5

Change 1990-2000

-1,298,541

% Change 1990-2000

-23.1

- Rounds to 0.0.

 

 

FunFacts:     History of Franklin County 1887, Warner, Beers, and Co. 1887
Historical Sketch of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, I.H. Mc.Cauley, Publisher-John M. Pomeroy, 1878
Conococheague- A History of the Greencastle-Antrim Community 1736-1971, William P. Conrad, 1971
Shelter for His Excellency, Le Roy Greene, Stackpole Books, Harrisbur, 1951
A History of Pennsylvania, Klein and Hoogenboom, Penn State University, 1980
Archie Reid, President of Ballyclare Historical Society, County Antrim, Northern Ireland,
www.ollar.utvinternet.com

Filipino Americans

Filipino Americans

Where Were They From:  The Filipino homeland is an archipelago of about 7,000 islands, which can be divided into three main areas. Luzon is the large northern island of which Quezon City, the capital, and Mila, the large island on the southern extreme of the archipelago, is the historical center of Muslim influence.

When:  It can be said that Filipinos, often referred to as Luzon Indians or Manila Men, were on sailing ships on the world’s seas and oceans from the earliest of times — not limited to Spanish galleons or to the Manila Galleon Trade years of 1565-1815.

What region of the US did they settle:  Filipinos have mainly settled in Hawaii, California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.  Today, their numbers are increasing with such rapid speed that leading demographers now predict that they will soon comprise the biggest Asian-American population.

What occupations did they take part in:  The first Filipinos to come to the United States were not peasants but students.  The first U.S. civil governor, William Howard Taft, inspired a plan whereby the colonial government sent young men to attend college or university in the United States. These students, known as pensionados, were taken into American homes after they finished their studies is such fields as education, engineering, agriculture, and medicine.

In 1906 Albert F. Judd arrived in the Philippines to recruit plantation and mill workers for the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA).  The HSPA recruits who arrived in Honolulu were assigned either to one of the sugar plantations on Hawaii’s four major islands or to the Pineapple Growers’ Association.

What are the family patterns, Rituals:  Faithfulness to the family is a tradition that is characteristic of Filipino society.  This family loyalty is apparent in the fact that there are no booming businesses for retirement homes or orphanages in the Philippines.
Also important to Filipinos is treating elders (even someone a year older is an “elder”) with the respect and deference they deserve and require.  There are many ways a person can show respect, whether it is by using hand gestures or speaking in a manner that denotes respect.
As with many Asian countries, removal of shoes is customary when entering someone’s home.  By doing this the visitors shows his/her respect for the family and their home, as well as having basic courtesy.
To recognize an elder’s presence, a younger person may take the elder’s hand (usually someone at least 15 years older), bring it to forehead and then release it.
Are they a group that appreciates schooling: There were large numbers who came to be farm workers starting in 1906, and we owe a lot to their struggle for acceptance in the American society.   However, there were many others who came under different circumstances.
There were quite a few who came to attend universities.  Some of these college students were Pensionados who were getting an education in the U.S. in order to return to government service in the Philippines.  There were also college students who were here on their own funds, seeking a better life.   Unfortunately, after they received their degrees, many of them could not find employers willing to hire them in their chosen careers

What are the basic demographics today?  There are reported 2, 364, 815 Filipinos in the United States.
The Asian Population: 2000 (Census 2000 Brief), February 2002. – see page 9
Check the Census 2000 for many more interesting findings.  For example:
Long Beach, CA is 48.9% white, and largest Asian/Pacific population is Filipino (4%).

Fun Facts:

Most Filipinos have Spanish-surnames, albeit most by the Claveria Decree of 1849, and many Filipinos have a Spanish ancestor or two.  It is an undeniable historical fact that the Philippines was a Spanish colony from 1521 to 1898 — many times longer than the almost 50 years (1898-1946) that it was an American colony.   So for several hundred years, Spain had influence on Philippine language, literature, food, architecture, and other aspects of custom and culture.

Hawaiian Americans

Hawaiian Americans

Hawaiians:  The ethnic designation “Hawaiian” is generally reserved for the descendants of the original Polynesian inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands.   Hawaii has the nation’s highest percentage of Asian residents—41.6% in 2000, when its Asian population numbered 503,868. In the same year, Pacific Islanders numbered 113,539 (including 80,137 native Hawaiians), 22,003 were black, and 3,535 were American Indians or Alaskan natives. About 87,699, or 7.2% of the total population, were Hispanic or Latino in 2000. Foreign-born residents numbered 212,229 in 2000, or 17.5% of the total state population—the 5th-highest percentage of foreign born among the 50 states.
Where Were They From:  Of Hawaii’s Asian residents in 2000, 201,764 were Japanese, 170,635 were Filipino, 56,600 were Chinese, and 23,637 were Korean. The earliest Asian immigrants, the Chinese, were superseded in number in 1900 by the Japanese, who have since become a significant factor in state politics. The influx of Filipinos and other Pacific Island peoples was largely a 20th-century phenomenon. In recent decades, ethnic Hawaiians have been increasingly intent on preserving their cultural identity.

When:   In 1820, New England missionaries arrived and began to “westernize” the islands. In 1840, Britain, France, and the United States recognized Hawaii as an independent kingdom, headed by King Kamehameha III. Yet Britain and France wanted to control the islands, and thus Kamehameha III placed Hawaii under U.S. protection in 1875.
In 1887, the United States was granted permission to establish a naval base in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor. Later, U.S. sugar interests encouraged that the King be overthrown, and Hawaii was established as a republic in 1893. U.S. domination of the islands came five years later when the United States annexed Hawaii and it became a U.S. territory in 1900.

What region of the US did they settle:  The early settlement history of Hawaiian’s is still not completely resolved. Some believe that the first Polynesians arrived in Hawaii in the 3rd century from the Marquesas and were followed by Tahitian settlers in 1300 AD who conquered the original inhabitants. Others believe that there was only a single, extended period of settlement. Patrick Kirch, in his 2001 book Hawaiki, argues for an extended period of contact but not necessarily for a Tahitian invasion.

What occupations did they take part in:  This is the side which became a huge, sugar-producing machine for better than a hundred years. And the people who built and worked in that machine – immigrants from China, Japan, the Philippines, Portugal and elsewhere – are those who joined the native Hawaiians to create the unique population that is Hawaii today. It is the only state where white people are the minority, and where most people are immigrants from Asia, their descendants, and native Hawaiians.
For them, Hawaii has been the land of aloha, but also the land of backbreaking work. Work cutting sugar cane. Work in the mills. Work on the docks loading sugar.

What are the family patterns, Rituals:  The socialization of children was largely a concern of the extended family rather than the individual household, with all available elders  taking responsibility for teaching children basic skills such as fishing, weaving, farming, and building.  Adoption of related children was a common practice.

 

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:   A few private preschools began using Hawaiian language to conduct all their student activities and lessons — these schools were organized under the name “Punana Leo” (speech nest). A few public elementary school classrooms were specifically set aside to be “kula kaiapuni” (immersion schools) where all activities and lessons would be conducted in Hawaiian language. The idea was to create a group of children for whom Hawaiian would be a native language. At the same time, Hawaiian language courses became popular electives for high school students, college students, and adults attending night school. Such courses were taken by students of all ethnicities, although the private preschool and public elementary school immersion programs Punana Leo and Kula Kaiapuni were populated almost entirely by ethnic Hawaiian children (just as not many children would enroll in a French immersion classroom unless they had parents or grandparents of French ethnicity).

 

What are the basic demographics today?   Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders (NHOPIs) are people having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands, even if they do not live in the Pacific Islands. According to the 2000 Census, those who identify only as NHOPI comprise 0.1 percent of the American population, or almost 400,000 individuals.  Until 2000, NHOPIs were grouped with Asian Americans in studies of race and ethnicity.  For this reason, there are no population growth projections for NHOPIs at this time.  NHOPIs live throughout the United States, but their populations are most concentrated in the western mainland states and Hawaii. Though historically grouped with Asian Americans for data collection, NHOPI was assigned as a distinct category for the 2000 Census.

 

Fun Facts: 

Surfing was invented long ago in Hawaii by ancient Kings.

The Hawaiian language has the shortest alphabet in the world. It is only 12 letters long – A, E, I, O, U, H, K, L, M, N, P, W. The 13 th symbol of the Hawaiian language is the ‘okina ‘ which is an apostrophe.

 

Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. that grows coffee and is the worldwide leader in harvesting macadamia nuts and orchids. Much of the cropland in Hawaii is used for growing sugarcane and pineapples, and more than 1/3 of the commercial supply of pineapples comes from Hawaii.

Hawaii consumes the most Spam in the United States. Last checked, it was over 10,000 cans of Spam consumed every day in Hawaii.

Irish Americans

Irish Americans

Where Were They From:  For almost three centuries after the first settlement of the English colonies Ireland sent large groups of newcomers to America.  In the first half of the 19th century there steady stream of travelers grew into the first of the great mass migrations to the United States

 

When:  During the period 1820 and 1920 over 4,400,000 people emigrated from Ireland to the United States. Only Germany (5,500,000) and Italy (4,190,000) came anywhere near these figures. In 1840 Ireland had been the most densely populated country in Europe. By the 20th century this situation had been completely reversed.

An investigation carried out in 1978 revealed that since 1820 over 4,723,000 people migrated to the United States from Ireland. This amounted to 9.7 per cent of the total foreign immigration during this period.

 

What region of the US did they settle: They mainly lived in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, Ohio and New Jersey. The Irish Emigrant Society tried to persuade immigrants to move to the interior but the vast majority was poverty-stricken and had no money for transport or to buy land. They therefore tended to settle close to the port where they disembarked.

In 1890 there were large numbers of Irish born immigrants in the states of New York (483,000), Massachusetts (260,000), Illinois (124,000) and Minnesota (28,000). There were also significant communities in New York City (190,000), Chicago (70,000), Baltimore (13,000) and the textile town of Lawrence (8,000).

 

What occupations did they take part in:  In October 1845 a serious blight began among the Irish potatoes, ruining about three-quarters of the country’s crop. This was a disaster as over four million people in Ireland depended on the potato as their staple food crop. The blight returned in 1846 and over the next year an estimated 350,000 people died of starvation and an outbreak of typhus that ravaged a weaken population. Despite good potato crops over the next four years, people continued to die and in 1851 the Census Commissioners estimated that nearly a million people had died during the Irish Famine. The British administration and absentee landlords were blamed for this catastrophe by the Irish people.

Thousands of Irish laborers worked on building the railroads in the United States. Some were able to save enough money to buy land and establish themselves as farmers along the routes they had helped to develop. This was especially true of Illinois and by 1860 there were 87,000 Irish people living in this state.

 

What are the family patterns, rituals:  The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385. His given name was Maewyn, and he almost didn’t get the job of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required scholarship.
Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.
He escaped from slavery after six years and went to Gaul where he studied in the monastery under St. Germain, bishop of Auxerre for a period of twelve years. During his training he became aware that his calling was to convert the pagans to Christianity
.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:  Irish-Americans are both better educated and more financially well-off than the population as a whole. Thirty percent of those age 25 years old and over have bachelor’s degrees or higher, and their annual median household income is $48,900; for the population as a whole, the respective figures are 24 percent and $42,000.

The Irish in America remained strong supporters of education, religious and otherwise.  The number of years of schooling increased steadily with each generation of 9 years as opposed to 12 for their offspring.  The proportion of college students of Irish descent grew steadily after 1920.  The increase in college attendance was particularly noticeable after World War II, descendants of Catholic Irish immigrants surpassed the general population, and once in college, they were twice as likely as other students to study law; they also tended to study the physical and biological sciences rather than sociology, history, or economics.

 

What are the basic demographics today?   34.3 million is the number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This number is almost nine times the population of Ireland itself (3.9 million).

http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/Profiles/Single/2002/ACS/ Tabular/010/01000US2.htm
http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/idbsum.html
Twenty-Four Percent (24%) of Massachusetts residents are of Irish ancestry — about double the national percentage. The other New England states that have relatively high concentrations of people of Irish descent are:  New Hampshire (23 percent) and Rhode Island (21 percent) http://www.census.gov/acs/www/Products/Profiles/Single/2002/ACS/index.htm
Coming to America

156,000 is the number of foreign-born U.S. residents born in Ireland.
http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet

4.8 milion is the total number of immigrants from Ireland admitted for lawful permanent residence since fiscal year 1820, the earliest year for which official immigration records exist; about half of these immigrants were admitted for lawful permanent residence by fiscal year 1870. Only Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Mexico have had more immigrants admitted for permanent residence to the United States than Ireland. http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/aboutus/statistics/IMM02yrbk/IMM2002.pdf

There were 1,419 immigrants from Ireland admitted for lawful permanent residence to the United States in fiscal year 2002.
http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/aboutus/statistics/IMM02yrbk/IMM2002.pdf

 

 

Fun Facts:  Although not an “official” holiday in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day has a long history of being celebrated with parades and general goodwill for all things Irish. The day commemorates St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century. Because many Americans celebrate their Irish lineage on St. Patrick’s Day, March was picked as Irish-American Heritage Month. The month was first proclaimed in 1995 by Congress. The U.S. President also issues an Irish-American Heritage Month proclamation.

Senator Jim McGovern loves a dish named after himself McGoverns boneless pork chops and stuffing is available at OConnors Restaurant & Bar in Worcester, Mass., a favorite locale pub of his since it opened years ago. (ANI)
Read more: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/irish-origin-us-lawmakers-will-be-quaffing-guinness-downing-bangers-on-st-patricks-day_100168101.html#ixzz0VFwzh3St

Italian Americans

Italian Americans

Where Were They From:  Italy was now one of the most overcrowded countries in Europe and many began to consider the possibility of leaving Italy to escape low wages and high taxes.

When:  During the period 1820 and 1920 over 4,190,000 people emigrated from Italy to the United States.

 

What region of the US did they settle: At the beginning, it was in New York City, and the first wave of migrants gathered or huddled together in what is now referred to in New York as Little Italy.  Later they moved to the newer or less crowded  boroughs of the city, then the state, and then some, and later more and more, crossed to other states.
There were large colonies in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit. From 1900 to 1910 over 2,100,00 arrived. Of these, around 40 per cent eventually returned to Italy.

 

What occupations did they take part in:  They stayed to works as merchants, shopkeepers, truck gardeners, dairy farmers, grape growers, and wine makers, and a few eventually became prominent local citizens.

 

What are the family patterns, Rituals:  Italians themselves believes that it is the mother who keeps the family together, who creates and maintains the familial links, who is the bond that unifies all members, she in turn, know she can depend on the rest of her family in her time of need.
Generally speaking, the role of mother and homemaker is a much respected position in Italian society.
Food and meals in Italy are very important part of family life.  Italians have certain taboos.  When it comes to food combinations and eating certain things at the appropriate time.  Cappuccino is considered a breakfast drink and is not appropriate after lunch or dinner.  Instead, coffe’ can be ordered anytime of the day.  Italians drink water and wine at meals.  If they have pizza, they will drink soft drinks or beer.  It is considered polite to always keep both hands on the table and never on your lap.
Roman Catholicism is the largest religion in the country with about 84% of Italians identifying themselves as Roman Catholic although only about one-third of these are active members. The Catholic Church
also plays a role in the nation’s political affairs because of the Holy See’s location in Rome.
Other Christian groups in Italy include Eastern Orthodox Christians (1.2%), Greek Orthodox, Pentecostals and Evangelicals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Waldensians, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, Baptists, Lutherans and Methodists.

 

Are they a group that appreciates schooling: 
The average Italian American still lives in the city in which he was raised, has attended at least one year of college and has an average family income of about $33,000 per year, according to a survey of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.

 

 

What are the basic demographics today?  There are nearly 15 million people who have identified themselves as Italian American in the 1990 U.S. census, the Population Division of the U.S. Census Bureau reports. The Census Bureau estimates, however, that 1 out of 10 Americans has some Italian blood, bringing the total number of Americans of Italian descent to 26 million.

Italian Americans either make up 15 percent of the population or number more than 1 million in the following states:

California 1,500,000
Connecticut 650,000
Massachusetts 845,000
New Jersey 1,500,000
New York 2,900,000
Pennsylvania 1,400,000
Rhode Island 200,000

Italian Americans are also found in significant numbers in 15 other states, including Florida (800,000); Illinois (730,000), Ohio (640,000); Michigan (412,000); Texas (314,000) and Maryland (253,000).

Fun Facts:
Italians introduced America to certain types of pizza and pasta that many people love.
Then there is opera.
The Metropolitan Opera rose to become one of the best
opera companies globally under its manager, Giulio Gatti-Casazza (1869-1940) who brought singers Enrico Caruso, Rosa Ponselle, Amelita Galli-Curci, Beniamino Gigli, and Ezio Pinza and conductor Arturo Toscanini. Gatti-Casazzi managed the Met from 1908 to 1935. Then there is Pavarotti!
I heard and saw “A Street Car Named Desire” as an Italian opera – very interesting.
Hollywood also owes much to Italy:

  • Hollywood’s first “Latin Lover” was Rudolph Valentino.
  • Frank Sinatra was known as “The Voice”.
  • The legendary Carmine and Francis Ford Coppola included four Oscars in 1975 for The Godfather, Part II. Nicholas Cage is Francis’s nephew.
  • Sylvester Stallone, Jimmy Durante, Frank Capra, and Joseph Barbera (Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and other cartoons), are all Italian.

And of course the Food Network: Rachel Ray, Giada DeLaurentis, Iron Chef Mario Batali
From the pizza, pasta, bread shops and cottage industries in Little Italy circa 1850, Italian and Italian Americans have become famous singers, writers, poets and artists, as well as top business people in the 21st century.

The first Italian newspaper in the United States was New York’s L’Eco D’Italia in 1849. Dozens of Italian American socialist, anarchist, religious, fascist, anti-fascist, unionist, and literary magazines have been published since then. Il Progresso Italo-Americano (New York, 1880–1989) was the most continuous mirror of Italian American history. Since its daily circulation was above 100,000, Generoso Pope, its editor during the 1930s and 1940s, was perhaps the most influential Italian leader of his time.

·  The Bank of America, the largest bank in the country,  was established in 1904 by Amadeo Pietro (“A.P.”) Giannini (1870-1949) in San Francisco.  In 1919, he innovated the system of branch banking. Originally called the Bank of Italy, it changed names in 1928 and, in 1998 merged with NationsBank Corp.  Giannini financed the Golden Gate Bridge, and the fledgling film industry, including Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments,” and Disney’s “Snow White,” as well as California’s aerospace and agricultural industries.

Japanese Americans

Japanese Americans

Where Were They From:  Japan: The history of ethnic minorities is characterized by adversity, hard work, community initiative, heartache, triumphs, indomitable spirits and hope for the future. People of color in the United States have often been depicted as helpless victims of discriminatory practices with little appreciation of their strengths and their struggle with adversity. Like other minorities, Japanese Americans attempted to establish themselves in the United States economically, educationally, socially, religiously and politically.

When:. In 1869, settlers with The Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm Colony were among the first to arrive from Japan. They brought mulberry trees, silk cocoons, tea plants and bamboo roots. By 1880, 148 Japanese lived in the United States.

What region of the US did they settle: Most of the earliest emigrants to take advantage of this new freedmom of movement went to the Hawaiian Islands, but a handful managed to get as far as the West coast of the United States. By 1890, 12,000 Japanese emigrated across the pacific, still primarily to Hawaii and California.
What are the family patterns, Rituals:  Various family life-styles exist side by side in contemporary Japan. In many urban salaryman families, the husband may commute to work and return late, having little time with his children except for Sundays, a favorite day for family outings. The wife might be a “professional housewife,” with nearly total responsibility for raising children, ensuring their careers and marriages, running the household, and managing the family budget. She also has primary responsibility for maintaining social relations with the wider circles of relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances and for managing the family’s reputation. Her social life remains separate from that of her husband. It is increasingly likely that in addition to these family responsibilities, she may also have a part-time job or participate in adult education or other community activities. The closest emotional ties within such families are between the mother and children.

In other families, particularly between the self-employed, husband and wife work side by side in a family business. Although gender-based roles are clear cut, they might not be as rigidly distinct as in a household where work and family are more separated. In such families, fathers are more involved in their children’s development because they have more opportunity for interacting with them.

As women worked outside of the home with increasing frequency beginning in the 1970s, there was pressure on their husbands to take on more responsibility for housework and child care. Farm families, who depend on nonfarm employment for most of their income, are also developing patterns of interaction different from those of previous generations.

 

What occupations did they take part in: The Japanese community was firmly established in agriculture. They organized their produce and flower industries vertically in a system of Japanese-owned operations, from raising the plants to retail sales. Cooperatives were organized to improve the growing, packing and marketing of crops. Many businesses were dependent on the traffic of male laborers who traveled from one crop to the next. Japanese entrepreneurs had regular routes to the surrounding countryside, taking orders and making deliveries. Japanese Americans experimented with different strains of rice and were engaged in farming, distributing and selling rice. Keisaburo Koda, known as the “rice king,” established new strains of rice. Agricultural areas with Japanese residents had a flourishing Japanese section of town. Cooperatives functioned at their peak. Children were in schools. Japanese-language newspapers added English sections to their publications.
The first Japanese American organization in the United States was the Fukuin Ka established in 1877. This society offered English classes, operated a boarding house and provided a place to meet. Out of this organization came Japanese Christian churches. Before World War II, about 85 per cent of Japanese immigrants were Buddist. Christian, Buddhist, and Shinto churches were the focus of activity for Japanese communities, including women’s organizations (fujinkai) and youth groups.
Are they a group that appreciates schooling: Organizational leaders spoke for the community and worked as intermediaries to resolve conflicts. Japanese-language schools flourished, the first being established in 1902. By the 1930s, virtually every Japanese American community had its own nihongakko (language school) operated by a church or association.
Persons from the same area in Japan formed kenjinkai, designed to support, aid and acquaint fellow kenjin. Financial aid, informal counseling and care for the sick or injured were functions of these groups. The Japanese American Citizens League, organized in 1930, gained prominence during World War II, but many organizations died when records were lost during the internments.
What are the basic demographics today? Prime Minister Hatoyama announced that he would push for a GHG reduction target that would reduce net Japanese emissions to 75% of 1990 levels—the equivalent of 67% of the 2005 level. Caveat: the Japanese target is contingent on major fence-sitters—read US and China—coming up with their own comparable sacrifices. The Obama administration has just come out with its own goal that aims to reduce US emissions to 85% of the 2005 level, or 97% of the 1995 level. The Japanese figures look far more impressive than the corresponding US figures. Does this mean that Hatoyama has far greater ambitions than Obama?

What’s missing from the ongoing debate in Japan is the demographics perspective. The Japanese population plateaued in the post-bubble years and peaked in 2005 at 3% above the 1990 level so it will be back to the 1990 level when 2020 rolls around. The US population, in contrast, was at 21% above the 1990 level in 2005, and is expected to be 38% above the 1990 level in 2020. Do the arithmetic and you’ll find that, on a per capita basis, the Japan target represents a 25% reduction from the 1990 level and a 33% reduction from the 2005 level, while the US target represents 30% and 33% reductions respectively. In per capita terms—the most equitable yardstick according to many pundits as well as most developing countries lacking oil export capacities—the US target is arguably more ambitious than the Japanese one.

 

Fun Facts: 
The capital city of Japan is Tokyo while the official language is Japanese.

The monetary unit of Japan is Yen.

The traditional dress for women is known as ’Kimono’

Japanese eat with chopsticks called ‘Hashi’

One of the most famous Japanese delicacies is ‘Sushi’. It is a dish made of rice and fish dipped in vinegar, wrapped in sea weed.

More than 70 percent of the country is mountains and hills.

The most important table etiquette in Japan is saying traditional phrases before and after a meal. Japanese people say, “Itadaki-masu” before a meal and say “Gochisou-sama” after a meal. These phrases mean thanks for the food and also indicate the beginning and the ending of a meal. If you are eating with Japanese people, try to say these phrases.

Ecuadorian Americans

Ecuadorian Americans

Where Were They From:  Ecuador’s geographical variety is nearly matched by its diverse migration patterns. Although it is a small Andean country of approximately 13.3 million people, Ecuadorians are one of the largest immigrant groups in metro New York and the second largest immigrant group in Spain.

When:  The population of what is now Ecuador witnessed considerable disruption between 1470 and 1540. The Inca invaded from Peru during the later half of the 15th century, and Spanish conquerors arrived in 1534. Due to the introduction of disease, abuse, and enslavement, more than 70 percent of the indigenous population died by the end of the century.

What region of the US did they settle: Estimates of Ecuadorians living outside the country vary considerably. Adding up the official numbers from top destinations outside Latin America — the United States, Spain, and Italy.
Ecuadorian emigration prior to the 1960s was minimal. A small number of people migrated to Venezuela and by the 1940s to the United States. The US Office of Immigration Statistics (part of the Department of Homeland Security) reports that 11,025 Ecuadorians received lawful permanent resident status from 1930 to 1959. By the 1960s, small communities of Ecuadorians could be found in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

What occupations did they take part in:  They developed trade routes with nearby Peru, Brazil, and Amazonian tribes. Culture continued to thrive and diversify, and by 500 BC large cities had been established along the coast. Their inhabitants had sophisticated metalworking and navigational skills and they traded with Mexico’s Maya. In 1460 AD, when the Inca ruler Tupac-Yupanqui invaded from the south, three major tribes in Ecuador were powerful enough to give him a fight: the Canari, the Quitu, and the Caras.

What are the family patterns, Rituals:  As circumstances dictated, a household commonly consisted of a nuclear family–husband and wife with their unmarried children–and one or more members of the wider circle of kin. Couples often resided with the parents of one of the spouses for a period after marriage. Parents typically spent their declining years with the youngest son and his spouse, who remained at home to care for them. Although individuals owed their primary allegiance and responsibility to their families, ties extended outward from this group. The wider circle of kin offered the individual a potential source of assistance and support. Trust and responsibility flowed along the lines of kinship at each level of the social scale.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:  Is considered as one of the most important issues. The percentage of literacy is very high is the country of Ecuador. The educational infrastructure is very strong there. There are numerous schools and colleges in Ecuador.
The educational systems in Ecuador are very strong. Students who fall under the group of five to fourteen, are supposed to attend the school everyday at any cost. To some extent the public education in Ecuador is free. However, according to the ministry of Education in Ecuador, only 10 % of the rural population attends the school level education. On the other hand, about 76 % of the total number of children in Ecuador completes their study till the class six.
What are the basic demographics today?   
In the 2001 Ecuadorian census, 377,908 people were reported to have emigrated in the previous five years (1996 to 2001). But Ecuadorian entrance and exit data suggest that since 1999, nearly a million Ecuadorians (net) left the country. Although Ecuadorian government officials have estimated that as many as 3 million Ecuadorian citizens live overseas, a recent study by the United Nations and an Ecuadorian graduate university (FLACSO) suggest that an estimate of 1.5 million is much more accurate than 3 million.

Table 1. Number of Ecuadorians Overseas in Favored Destinations
Destination Official figure Estimated number
United States 436,409 (2005) 550,000-600,000
Spain 487,239 (2005) 550,000
Italy 61,953 (2005) 120,000
Venezuela 28,625 (2000) Unknown
Chile 9,762 (2002) Unknown
Colombia Not Available Unknown
Peru Not Available Unknown

Sources (official figures only):
United States: American Community Survey, US Census Bureau
Spain: Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas, Municipality Survey
Italy: Istituto Nazionale di Statistica
Venezuela: 2000 Census

Fun Facts:  Ecuador is a very beautiful South American country, which has the equator passing through it. In the other words, it falls on both the sides of the equator. Located in the northwestern part of South America, it stands bordered by the Pacific Ocean in the west, Colombia in the north and Peru in the south and east. Forming a part of the landscape of the country are the Galápagos Islands, situated in the Pacific, which lie about 965 kilometers (600 miles) to the west of the mainland. Ecuador is one of three countries that were created in 1830, after the collapse of Gran Colombia. In the following lines, we have provided more information on Ecuador.

The official name of Ecuador is the ‘Republic of Ecuador’.
The official language of Ecuador is Spanish. However, Quechua and other indigenous languages are also widely spoken here.
Majority of the people in Ecuador are Roman Catholics.
The main ethnic groups in Ecuador include Mestizo, Amerindian, Spanish and Blacks.
The currency of Ecuador is US Dollar (US$), since January 2001.
The capital of Ecuador is Quito.

Petroleum, food processing, textiles and metal work are the main industries of Ecuador.
The second highest point in Ecuador is Cotopaxi, one of the highest active volcanoes in the world.
Galapagos Islands make up the first National Park of Ecuador.
Quito is said to have the most pleasant temperature in the world and has been given the name of the “Land of Eternal Spring”.

 

 

FAMOUS People
Alejandro Carrión Aguirrehttp://www.alejandrocarrion.org./
Is one of these well-known Ecuadorians famous for his journalism, poetry and the short stories that he had written. In 1981 he was recognized for his works when he received the Maria Moors Cabot prize and the Ecuadorian National Prize.

Jefferson Perez:- http://www.jeffersonperez.com/biografiai.php
He is an Ecuadorian race walker who specializes in the 20km event of Olympics. He made the Ecuadorians proud by winning two Olympic medals. He is also the proud winner of the bronze in the Junior World Cup of Athletics in Bulgaria, silver at the World Championships of Seville and many such honors in a number of competitions around the world.

Andres Gomez:- http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Go/A/Andres-Gomez.aspx
He won five doubles titles in 1980, and seven in 1981. His first top-level singles title came in 1981 in Bordeaux. In 1986, Gomez attained the World No. 1 doubles ranking. He won seven doubles events that year, including the US Open men’s doubles title.  Gomez won a second Grand Slam men’s doubles title in 1988 at the French Open.  The crowning achievement of Gomez’s career came in 1990 when he reached his first (and only) Grand Slam singles final at the French Open. There he faced 19 year-old Andre Agassi who, like Gomez, was playing in his first Grand Slam singles final. The up-and-coming American star was considered the favorite, but Gomez seized the moment and claimed the title with a four-set win (6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4). Gomez reached his career-high singles ranking of World No. 4 later that year.

Julio Jaramillo:- http://www.batanga.com/en/artists/julio-jaramillo/bio
Julio Alfredo Jaramillo Laurido was a notable Ecuadorian “Pasillo” performer. Jaramillo performed throughout Latin America where he achieved fame performing and recording boleros, valses, pasillos, tangos and rancheras. He recorded more than 4,000 songs in total.

Nigerian Americans

Nigerian Americans

Where Did They Come From: With an area of 356,669 square miles (923,768 square kilometers), Nigeria’s size approximately equals the combined areas of New Mexico, Arizona and California. A coastal state on the shores of the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, Nigeria is bounded by Niger to the north, Benin to the west, Cameroon to the east and southeast, and Chad to the northeast.

When: In its 1935 annual report, the New York-based Institute of International Education indicated that in 1926 there were three documented Nigerian students in United States universities. In its subsequent reports, the number of students increased to 22 in 1944. A steady increase in Nigerians continued when the oil boom in the 1970s made Nigeria one of the wealthiest nations in Africa and many came to the United States to study. Most students were sponsored by their parents and relatives both in Nigeria and in the United States, while others obtained financial assistance from universities and colleges in the United States. In the late 1970s and 1980s Nigeria was among the top six countries in the number of students sent to study in the United States. While many returned home, in the 1980s when Nigeria’s economy began to decline at a tragic rate, many Nigerians remained in the United States and obtained citizenship. After becoming citizens many Nigerian Americans brought their relatives into the United States. According to 1990 census figures, there were approximately 91,688 people of Nigerian ancestry living in the United States.

What region of the US did they settle: Nigerian Americans, like many Africans migrating into the United States, are willing to settle almost anywhere. Family relations, colleges or universities previously attended by relatives and friends, and the weather are three major considerations for settlement by Nigerian Americans. Early Nigerians coming to the United States went to schools in the southern United States. Large metropolitan areas attract modern day Nigerian Americans, many of whom hold prestigious professional jobs. The heaviest concentrations of Nigerian Americans are found in Texas, California, New York, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, and Georgia.

What occupations did they take part in:  Nigerians are among the most well-educated immigrant groups living in America (see below) and as a result, they are present in significant numbers in the most prestigious professions including medicine, law, and as university faculty.  In urban ethnic communities such as in New York, Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami, Nigerian Americans have established their own small businesses, including travel agencies, parking lots, taxi stands, cultural exchange programs, and health and life insurance agencies. Even though they target the general population for their clientele, Nigerian Americans invest time in acquiring Nigerian and other African clientele.

What are the family patterns:  Traditionally, in many Nigerian communities, a man marries as many wives as possible. However, Nigerian Americans marry only one wife. While in their native country large families are common, Nigerian Americans have fewer children so that they will be able to give them the best education possible. The early immigrants were educated people and they instilled in their children the importance of education as a component of a successful life.

Years ago in Nigeria it was traditional for women to stay home and take care of children; however in modern times, both in the United States and at home, educational opportunities are opened equally to men and women. The areas of specialization are not delineated between the sexes.

Children are required by tradition to be obedient to their parents and other adults. For example, a child can never contradict his or her parents; and the left hand cannot be used to accept money from parents, or as a gesture of respectful communication. Nigerian Americans try to maintain these traditional values, but as a result of peer pressure in American society, young Nigerian Americans resist this type of strict discipline from their parents. Even though children are treated equally in Nigerian American families, girls are usually the center of attention for several reasons. With teenage pregnancies on the rise in the United States, many parents seem to keep a closer eye on their female children. As part of sex education, many Nigerian American parents alert their children to the problem of teenage pregnancy and its ensuing responsibilities.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:   Over half of Nigerian Americans between the age 18 and 24 go to four-year universities and obtain bachelor degrees. About 33 percent of Nigerian Americans 25 years and over who entered the United States between 1980 and 1990 received masters degree. Close to ten percent received doctoral degrees. About 50 percent of women aged 25 or older received their bachelor degrees. Masters and doctoral degrees for women in the same age group were 32 percent and 52 percent.

What are the basic demographics today? The 2000 US Census reports that there were 940,000 people who were born in Africa living in the United States.  Nigerian born Africans account for the largest percentage of immigrants from a single African country; nearly 70,000 people born in Nigeria were living in the United States at the time of the 2000 census.

 

Fun facts:

Niger River is Africa’s third largest river, behind that of ________ and  ____________.
What are the first two largest rivers?

The country was named “Nigeria” after the River Niger.

English is the main language of Nigeria. Apart from that, over three hundred languages are spoken in the country.

Nigerian Naira is the official currency  of Nigeria.

Apart from being a regional power, Nigeria is also listed amongst the “Next Eleven” economies.

Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with petroleum accounting for 95 percent of its export income.

Football (soccer) is Nigeria’s national sport.

Nigeria has the highest rate of twin births in the world, compared to any other country.

Men from various Nigerian groups wear Sokoto (“show-kowtow”), a pair of loose-fitting trousers, a buba (“boo-bah”) or loose-fitting overshirt, and a cap. Yoruba men wear agbada (“ah-bah-dah”), which is flowing robe worn to the ankle. It covers an undervest with no sleeves, and a pair of baggy pants. The women wear a wide piece of cloth that goes from below the neck to the ankles. A blouse hanging to the waist is worn over it. A head tie and a thin veil are also worn. Nigerian Americans wear their traditional costumes on special occasions such as National Day, October 1.

Puerto Rican Americans

Puerto Rican Americans

Where Were They From:  Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island 100 miles long and 35 miles wide situated about 1,000 miles southeast of Florida.

When:  The first Puerto Rican immigrants to come to the United States in the 19th century were for the most part political exiles seeking a base in New York.

What region of the US did they settle:  By far the largest Puerto Rican community o the mainland is that of New York City and its environs. Puerto Ricans first came to Brooklyn and settled in the area around the Brooklyn Navy Yard during and after World War I.  By 1930 East Harlem had become a large Puerto Rican community and acquired the name El Barrio (the neighborhood); it is still the area of the city most commonly associated with Puerto Ricans in New York.  The Puerto Rican population soon spread to other sections of the city, particularly the South Bronx, the Lower East Side and Upper West Side of Manhattan, and the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

What occupations did they take part in:  Initially Puerto Ricans worked in the agricultural sector.  In Connecticut, for example, they worked in tobacco fields. Puerto Rican laborers
have filled labor shortages in many important mainland industries—the textile and garment industries of New York, the electronics industries in Illinois, the foundries in Wisconsin, the steel mills in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania and farms in the East and Midwest.

What are the family patterns, Rituals:  Puerto Rican families are mostly large with  an average of 4 people compared with 3.1 for families in New York City as a whole.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:  Puerto Ricans have a much lower educational level than the average American.  One important effort to solve these difficulties has been the introduction of bilingual programs which teach the English language but provide instruction in the other regular subjects of the curriculum in Spanish.  Some of the credit for these advances can go to Antonia Pantoja, the founder of Aspira, who also established the Universidad Boricua (Puerto Rican University), in New York City http://www.boricuacollege.edu/_Faculty/Faculty.html
in an effort to provide advanced training for promising Puerto Rican students while involving them in significant research related to Puerto Rico.

What are the basic demographics today? 

Population  3, 966, 213 (July 2009 est.)

Age structure  0-14 years: 19.8% (male 402,473/female 384,655)
15-64 years: 66.1% (male 1,260,191/female 1,361,359)
65 years and over: 14.1% (male 239,957/female 317,578) (2009 est.)

Median age:  total: 36.2 years
male: 34.5 years
female: 37.9 years (2009 est.)

Population growth rate

0.298% (2009 est.)
male: 93.9%
female: 94.4% (2002 est.)

Fun Facts:  Criollo (creole) is a word used today by Puerto Ricans to describe things native to the island, such as: music, cuisine, language, arts, people, religion, and other aspects of the island culture.

The term “Nuyorican” is used to identify New Yorkers born in Puerto Rico or of Puerto Rican descent who live in or near New York City. The word Nuyorican derives from a combination of the words “New York” and “Puerto Rican”.

Puerto Rico has won the Miss Universe pageant a record five times: Marisol Malaret (1970), Deborah Carthy-Deu (1985), Dayanara Torres (1993), Denisse Quiñones (2001), and Zuleyka Rivera (2006). It has more titles than Brazil, Argentina and Mexico combined. The only country to have won it more than Puerto Rico is the United States (1954,1956,1960,1967,1980,1995,1997)

Puerto Rico has competed in the Winter Olympic Games 6 times (Sarajevo-1984, Calgary-1988, Albertville-1992, Lillehammer-1994, Nagano-1998, and Salt Lake City-2000).

Mexican Americans

Mexican Americans

Where Were They From:  Mexico represents the largest source of immigration to the United States. Of the 32.5 million foreign born covered in the March 2002 CPS, 9.8 million or 30 percent were from Mexico.

When:  During the 1850s and 1880s there was an agricultural boom in the United States and there was desperate need for additional labor who could give a helping hand on the farms. Opportunities became several as more and more people started growing different kinds of crops and exporting them.

What region of the US did they settle:  New destinations for Mexican immigrants emerged in the late 1990s. The four states with the largest Mexican immigrant populations—the traditional settlement areas of California, Texas, Illinois, and Arizona—continued to attract migrants, but a much larger share went to new destinations. The share of Mexican immigrants residing in these four states dropped from 89 percent in 1990 to 72 percent in 2002, while the number residing in these states increased by 87 percent from 3.8 million to 7.1 million.

What occupations did they take part in:   Mexican immigrants work as plumbers, bricklayers, mechanics, cleaners, helpers, and much more. A person who went to school and studied a bit is obviously not going to do any of these jobs. The best way for anyone is to hire an illegal immigrant, make money and also allow them to make money. This is a big win-win situation for illegal immigrants and their employers. Today, there are several reasons in macro economics that is attracting the illegal immigrants from Mexico to come into America.

What are the family patterns, Rituals:  The Mexican family

life is guided by their good old golden rules. These include assigning gender based roles to the different members of the family. The man is to be the maintainer and protector of his woman and family whereas the home is the woman’s domain. The girls of the family are also kept under strict control until the time they get married. Admittedly, with the proliferation of modern pop culture this is becoming less frequent, especially in urban environments. Men have the traits of Machismo having pride and confidence in themselves and their families. The real essence of the Mexican family lifestyle comes into play in the many events that they hold.
Mexican family traditions become evident through a number of family oriented occasions. Wedding is one such family celebration that is adorned with elaborate rituals. Another family centric occasion is quinceanera, the fifteenth birthday of a woman that is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:  Primary education is free and compulsory for all children through the age of 15. Parochial schools were legalized in 1991. Secondary schools emphasize vocational and technical training. Although adult illiteracy has been a major problem, successful government campaigns have raised the literacy rate from less than 50 percent in the early 1940s to more than 92 percent of people aged 15 or older in the late 1980s.

 

What are the basic demographics today?  107 Million in 2008 (Source: INEGI, derived from 2005 census data)
More than 25 percent of households with a Latino member had a family of five or more members in 2002. Mexican-American households (30.8 percent) had the highest percentage of households consisting of five or more members.  The Mexican population is composed of three main groups: the people of Spanish descent, the Native Americans, and the people of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry, or mestizos. Of these groups, the mestizos are by far the largest, constituting about 55 percent of the population. The Native Americans total about 30 percent. The society is semi-industrialized.

Fun Facts:  
A country rich in history, tradition and culture, Mexico is made up of 31 states and one federal district. It is the third largest country in Latin America and has the largest population—more than 100 million—making it the home of more Spanish speakers than any other nation in the world.

Mexico City was built on a lake?
Mexico introduced chocolate to the world?
Mexico is the most populous Spanish speaking country in the world?
Salma Hayek is the first Mexican movie star to reach success in the U.S. since Dolores Del Río in the twenties?
The currency is the peso Mexicano?
In the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, the Aztecs used the poinsettia leaves to dye fabric for clothing and the sap for medicinal purposes, including to help control fevers?
Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, an amateur botanist and first United States ambassador to Mexico, introduced the plant that became known as the poinsettia to this country?
Mexico City is sinking at a rate of 6 to 8 inches a year because it’s built on top of an underground reservoir. Wells are drawing out more and more water for the city’s growing population of more than 15 million people?

Mexico City is the oldest capital city in the Americas?

Vietnamese Americans

Vietnamese Americans

Where Did They Come From:  The history of Vietnamese immigration to the United States is relatively recent. Prior to 1975, most Vietnamese residing in the United States were spouses and children of American servicemen in Vietnam. On April 30, 1975, “the fall of Saigon” ended the Vietnam War and prompted the first of two waves of emigration from Vietnam to the United States. Vietnamese who had worked closely with Americans during the Vietnam War feared reprisals by the Communist party. Hence, 125,000 Vietnamese citizens departed their native country during the Spring of 1975.

When:  A poll taken in 1975 showed a mere 36% of Americans were in favor of Vietnamese immigrants coming to the US.  This is very understandable.  Fortunately, the Gerald Ford Administration supported the arrival of Vietnamese immigrants and passed the Indochina Migration and Refugee Act of 1975. This Act established a program of domestic resettlement assistance for refugees who fled from both Cambodia and Vietnam.

What region of the US did they settle:  The Vietnamese coming to America were airlifted or fled Vietnam on U.S. military cargo ships and transferred to United States government bases in Guam, Thailand, Wake Island, Hawaii and the Philippines, as part of “Operation New Life.” Subsequently, they were transferred to four refugee centers throughout the United States: Camp Pendleton in California, Fort Chaffee in Arkansas, Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania. Initially, Vietnamese immigrants were unwelcomed by the general American populous.

What occupations did they take part in:   According to data collected by the United States Department of State in 1975, over 30 percent of the heads of households in the first wave were trained in the medical professions or in technical or managerial occupations, 16.9 percent were in transportation occupations, and 11.7 percent were in clerical and sales occupations. Only 4.9 percent were fishermen or farmers—occupations of the majority of people in Vietnam. Over 70 percent of the first wave refugees from this overwhelmingly rural nation came from urban areas.

What are the family patterns:   The extended family is the heart of Vietnamese culture, and preservation of family life in their new home is one of the most important concerns of Vietnamese Americans. While American families are generally nuclear, consisting of parents and their children, the Vietnamese tend to think of the family as including maternal and paternal grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Traditionally-minded Vietnamese Americans think of all social relations on the model of family relations. Many Vietnamese Americans have taken on family patterns similar to the American nuclear family model, but many of them still attempt to retain close ties with their extended families, so that even when adult children marry and leave the household, parents often encourage them to live nearby.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling:   According to the initial INS profile, 20 percent of all the refugees over 18 years of age had at least some university education, education, 38 percent  reported having some secondary schooling, 18 percent has some elementary schooling, 2 percent has none at all, and 23 percent did not report.
What are the basic demographics today?   According to the 2000 census, there are currently 1, 223,736 Vietnamese Americans. They are the fifth largest Asian immigrant group behind Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian and Koreans.  However, recent studies have shown that by the year 2012, Vietnamese Americans will surpass all other Asian groups, with the exception of Chinese Americans, to become the second largest Asian-American population in the United States.
Fun facts:  Vietnamese men, even in Vietnam, long ago adopted western dress. Women, however, still wear the traditional ao dai (pronounced “ow yai”) on most special occasions. The ao dai consists of a long mandarin-collared shirt that extends to the calves, slit at both sides to the waist. This is worn over loose black or white pants. Ao dais may come in many colors, and their flowing simplicity makes them among the most graceful forms of dress.
The conical Vietnamese hat known as the non la (literally, “leaf hat”) may be seen often in areas where large numbers of Vietnamese Americans reside. Designed for protection from the hot sun of Southeast Asia, the non la is light and provides comfortable shade when working outdoors.
Like the proverbs of many other peoples, traditional Vietnamese proverbs form a treasury of popular wisdom, offering insights into the society and into its beliefs about how relations among people are or ought to be. The following are a few of the countless proverbs that have been quoted by generations of Vietnamese people:

  • Birds have nests, people have ancestors
  • If a branch is broken from a tree, the branch dies
  • Big fish eat little ones
  • From our own thoughts we can guess the thoughts of others
  • Even the fierce tiger will not devour its kittens
  • The city has its laws, the village has its customs
  • The law of the Emperor must give way before the customs of the village
  • The higher one climbs, the more painful the fall
  • Life is ten times more valuable than wealth
  • Chew when you eat, think when you speak

The Vietnamese traditional dress, “Áo Dài”, is one of the most elegant and beautiful dresses for women. It’s very simple, consisting of a close-fitting blouse, with long panels in the front and back, that is worn over loose white trousers. As a Vietnamese girl who loves to travel abroad says, “sometimes I bring an Áo Dài to travel with me. Whenever I wear it, my Áo Dài always attracts friendly looks from both locals and travelers.”

Jewish Americans

Jewish-Americans

 

Where Are They From: Jewish immigration to America started in 1860. In this year 200,000 German Jews immigrated to USA. From 1882 to 1914, 2 million Jews immigrated from eastern Europe to USA. Jewish immigration in the years 1882-1914 changed the Jews history. It created new Jewish centers, decreased the Jewish numbers in Europe and made new religious-culture trends for the Jewish people who migrated to America.

When Did They Arrive in US:  Since 1654, when the first group of 23 Jews arrived in the New Amsterdam.

What Region of the US Did They Settle:  Eastern Europe Jews streamed to the big trade cities in the northeast landing in cities such as: New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore.  They also went to the mid-west cities such as:  Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit. In this way the Jews could keep their way of life.
In 1914, there were more than 1.5 million Jews in New York City alone.  Why New York?
1. Eastern Europe Jews came to New York harbor and stayed there. They settled mainly on the east side of Manhattan.
2. New York was the center of the garment industry where Jews carved a niche.
3. In New York there was already a large Jewish community and they felt sure they would get the needed social support.
What Occupations Did They Take Part In:  In the 1880s upwards of 65% of the Jews were involved in the Dressing and Textile industry.
Why Dressing and Textile?
1. The garment industry had many available jobs.
2. The Jews had a good knowledge of the textile industry
3. The whole family could work in this field.   In this way the family connections worked for them and there was no need to work on Saturdays, their religious –holy day.
What Are The Family Patterns, Rituals:  Orthodox – This Orthodox stream didn’t change anything from the Torah. This is the Torah from Sinai and no human can change it. Many of them were anti Zionism.
Reformist - The reformists accept the Jews ethical commandment and reject the practical commandment that is not suitable to 20 century life. The Bible is the main stream here and not the Talmud.
Conservative – The Conservatives are between the Orthodox and the Reformist. Their big issue is that there is a new realty and there has to be a change in the Jews religious beliefs and customs. One such change was women and men sitting together and praying together. The Conservatives keep guard over the Kashrut and the Sabbath as it is. They also believe that the practical commandments are not relevant, but they want to keep some of them.
Are They A Group That Appreciates Schooling: Jewish education has at­tempted to parallel and complement the American ed­ucational system and to create lasting institutions that preserve and sustain Jewish life as a vital force for the next generation.

Jewish education has been used both for Americanization and for preserving European Jewish culture and tradition. It has been the source of controversy and debate over the relationship between religious and secular education.

One of the most astounding changes in modern Jewish education has been the growth of private Jew­ish day schools, a phenomenon that harkens back to the colonial era and the mid-19th century. This movement evolved in part because of the immigration of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic refugees arriving from Eu­rope before and after World War II. With no desire to integrate themselves into the American mainstream or to separate general from religious instruction, these Hasidim developed separate schools for boys and girls to prepare them to become observant, ultra-Orthodox Jews.

What Are The Basic Demographics TodayMany experts have argued recently that Jewish population statistics reveal a community in the midst of stagnation or decline. Although studies vary depending on methodology and definitions of Jewishness, the soon-to-be released National Jewish Population Survey lends support to the view that our population has been shrinking since 1990. This would be the first population decline in American Jewish history. If we are to equate demographic strength with spiritual and cultural vibrancy, the American Jewish community is facing daunting challenges to its oft-stated goals of renaissance.

5 Countries with Largest Jewish Populations

Country           Number           %
1          Israel              5,313,800        40.6%
2          United States 5,275,000        40.3%
3          France             491,500           3.8%
4          Canada            373,500           2.9%
5          United Kingdom 297,000       2.3%

Fun Facts:

Israel was founded May 14, 1948.  Geographically, it is located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.  The Prime Minister is the head of state.

  • Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year.
  • Yom Kippur is a day of Atonement. A day set aside for fasting, depriving oneself of pleasures, and repenting from the sins of the previous year.
  • Chanukkah is called the festival of lights which is celebrated by gift-giving and decorations.
  • Passover is an observance related to the exodus from Egypt after generations of slavery. This story is told in Exodus, Ch. 1-15.

Brit Milah (Circumcision)
Traditionally, a Jewish baby boy has a circumcision on his eighth day of life, provided there are no medical reasons for delaying. A mohel should be contacted as soon as possible after birth in order to set the correct date and time for the ceremony.

Baby-naming Ceremonies
Simchat Bat
Traditionally, the Simchat Bat ceremony for baby girls, takes place in the synagogue on the first Sabbat following her birth. During the ceremony, either the father or both parents are called to the Torah for a reading and blessing. Today, many families choose to have the ceremonies in their own homes.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah
The Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrates a young person’s entry into the adult Jewish community. Although these observances are not prescribed by written law, they have become important religious traditions over the last 450 years. Typically, during the celebration, the young person recites a blessing over the Torah, reads the Haftorah or Torah portion for that week and then offers a speech or scholarly comment.

Marriage
The marriage ceremony is a simcha, celebrating the union between two Jewish individuals. The ceremony takes place under a Chuppah, or canopy, and the actual marriage involves exchanging wedding rings while the couple (or just the groom in some congregations) recites the following:”Behold thou art sanctified unto me by this ring according to the law of Moses and Israel.”

Divorce
Although Judaism does not encourage divorce as a solution to marital problems, it recognizes that, when it is impossible for a couple to continue living together as man and wife, a divorce should be offered with as few obstacles as possible. Most Jewish individuals prefer to obtain a religious divorce, a get, from a rabbinical council Bet Din, in addition to a civil divorce. To acquire a get, the couple appears before a Bet Din, a rabbinical court consisting of three rabbis. Most Batei Din will not permit a divorce unless a civil divorce has already been completed.

Russian Americans

Russian Americans

Where Were They From: The first Russians reached America in 1747 when fur traders arrived in Alaska, long before it was purchased by the United States in 1867.  Some settled in the area and the Russian Orthodox Church became active in the region in 1795.

The term ‘Russian’ includes immigrants of Russian ethnicity, along with eastern Slavs from Belorussia, Ukraine, and members of the former Hapsburg Austrian province of Galicia.

When Did They Arrive in US: Many Russian Jews immigrated to America in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The main reason for their emigration was the wave of pogroms in southern Russia against the Jewish community that followed the assassination of Alexander II in 1881.

What region of the US did they settle: Russian immigrant communities in the USA are generally clustered around major Eastern Orthodox or Russian churches, like in Alaska, or in and around major US cities like New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, and Boston.

What occupations did they take part in: Russian immigrants contributed a great deal to the development of science. Important figures included the aircraft engineers Igor Sikorsky and Alexander de Seversky, the biologist Selman Waksman, and the pioneer in the development of television, Vladimir Zworykin.

What are the family patterns, rituals: The Russian family is dependent upon all its members. Most families live in small apartments, often with 2 or 3 generations sharing little space. Most families are small, often with only one child because most women must also work outside of the house in addition to bearing sole responsibility for household and childrearing chores.

What are the basic demographics today:  According to the US 2002 census, ethnic Russians make up 80% of the total population, while six other ethnicities have a population exceeding 1 million. The ethnicities include:
Tatars (3.8%)
Ukrainians (2%)
Bashkir (1.1%)
Chuvash (1.1%)
Chechens (0.9%)
Armenians (0.8%)
In total, 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous people live within the Russian federation’s borders.

Of Russia’s estimated 150m population, over 81% speak the official language of Russian as their first and only language. Most speakers of a minority language are also bilingual speakers of Russian. There are over 100 minority languages spoken in Russia today, the most popular of which is Tartar, spoken by more than 3% of the country’s population. Other minority languages include Ukrainian, Chuvash, Bashir, Mordvin and Chechen. Although few of these groups make up even 1% of the Russian population, these languages are prominent in key regional areas.

Fun Facts:

If you are invited to a Russian house:
Do not begin eating until the host invites you to start.
Arrive on time or no more than 15 minutes later than invited.
Remove your outdoor shoes. You may be given slippers to wear.
Dress in clothes you might wear to the office. Dressing well shows respect for your hosts.
Expect to be treated with honor and respect.
Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. This may be turned down out of politeness. Asking ‘are you sure?’ allows the hostess to accept your offer.

Additional Readings and Sources:

Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674375123

 

Immigrating to the USA
Russian Immigrant
http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAErussia.htm

 

Libcom’s guide to further reading about the Russian revolution and counter-revolution of 1917 to 1921: http://libcom.org/library/russian-revolution-1917-further-reading-guide

Jamaican Americans

Jamaican Americans

Where Did They Come From: Jamaica was originally inhabited by a race of people called the Arawaks or Tainos. They had probably come from the country now known as Guyana.
Arawaks from South America had settled in Jamaica prior to Christopher Columbus’ first arrival in 1494. During Spain’s occupation of the island, starting in 1510, the Arawaks were exterminated by disease, slavery, and war. Spain brought the first African slaves to Jamaica in 1517. In 1655, British forces seized the island, and in 1670, Great Britain gained formal possession. The Dominion of Jamaica gained its independence on August 6, 1962.

 

When: Jamaicans began to immigrate to the United States in the 1800s and emigration peaked between 1948 and 1970. Historically, the United States have been one of the preferred destinations for Jamaican emigrants, especially after the United Kingdom restricted immigration from Commonwealth countries in 1962 (and even started requiring a visa for Jamaican tourists in 2003).

 

What region of the US did they settle: The major flow has been to the United States and Canada. New York, Miami, Chicago, and Hartford are among the U.S. cities with a significant Jamaican population.

 

What occupations did they take part in: The men were skilful fishermen, and caught fish and turtle to eat. They made their cooking vessels out of clay, and burnt them in fire till they became hard. The women grew cassava, corn and sweet potatoes for food. Cotton grew wild in the island, and they twisted the fiber into cloth, strips of which they wore around their waists. In the late 20th century there was substantial nationalization of foreign-owned enterprise in the West Indies because of pressure from governments and, in the Commonwealth Caribbean, as a result of the willingness of companies to surrender their least-viable operations and to use the compensation to open up activities elsewhere. For example, foreign-based sugar interests divested themselves first of land and then of factories in Jamaica and Trinidad, and Jamaicans and Trinidadians acquired interest in foreign banks.

 

What are the family patterns: The role of extended family is significant in Caribbean families. For many, family does not mean only the nuclear family, but includes aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandparents. Childcare is often provided by extended family when parents work or are away from home, and they sometimes assume as much responsibility for raising the children as the parents.

Are they a group that appreciates schooling: The educational system was slow to reach most Jamaicans until the early 1970s. Even after the abolition of slavery, education remained uncommon; early efforts were conducted mostly by Christian churches. In the late 1800s, some secondary schools created in Kingston served primarily the light-skinned elite. The limited availability of schools, especially beyond the primary level, and the elitist curriculum intensified class divisions in colonial society. A dual system of education, characterized by government-run primary schools and private secondary schools, effectively barred a large part of the population from attaining more than functional literacy. In addition, much of the content of formal education in Jamaica was largely irrelevant for students unable to attend universities in Britain. In 1943, less than 1 percent of blacks and only 9 percent of the mixed races attended secondary school.

 

What are the basic demographics today?:
The following table includes the number of Jamaicans living in the United States. ‘Jamaicans’ are defined as people who marked their ethnic origin as ‘Jamaican’ on the Census survey in 1990 and/or 2000.

Total Number (1990)

435,024

% of US Population (1990)

0.2

Total Number (2000)

736,513

% of US Population (2000)

0.3

Change 1990-2000

301,489

% Change 1990-2000

69.3

 

Fun facts: Patois uses many repeated words, such as bo-bo (silly person) and was-was (wasp). Scholars believe this pattern came from West African speech.
Today the Rastas are a small sector of the Jamaican population, but because of famous Rastas such as the late Bob Marley, they often are associated with Jamaica. Rasta men are easily identified by their dreadlocks, or locks, matted waist-length strands that either flow down their back or are held beneath a knitted cap or tam. Rastafarian women generally wear locks as well, along with African clothing and head-wraps.
Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean and it is often considered a perfect beach holiday. It is known as the “Little Jewel in the Caribbean.” Jamaica has 120 lakes and rivers, more than 150 miles of coast line, and several mineral springs.
Jamaica is sunny all year round, but it has competed in the Winter Olympic Games 5 times.
Linford Christie, who is a former British sprinter, was born on April 2, 1960, in Saint Andrew, Jamaica. Linford Christie was one of the best sprinters in the 1980s and 1990s.

 

Additional Readings and Sources:

Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674375123

Caribbean Islands

http://countrystudies.us/caribbean-islands

Jamaican American Association of Central Florida
http://www.jamaicanamericanassoc.com/main/cultural-history/

Jamaican Americans by N. Samuel Murrell
http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Jamaican-Americans.html

Encyclopedia of the Nations-Jamaica-Migration
http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Americas/Jamaica-MIGRATION.html

Voices of New York
http://www.nyu.edu/classes/blake.map2001/jamaica.html

Jamaica News (about Independence )
http://www.jamaicanewsmedia.com/independence.html

UK Tightens Entry Rules for Jamaicans
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2638347.stm

Caribbean Families – Family Structure, Extended Family, Mate Selection And Marriage, Role Of Religion, Parent-child Relationships
http://family.jrank.org/pages/209/Caribbean-Families.html#ixzz1E2p8OXQY

http://www.jamaicans.com/index.shtml

Palestinian Americans

Palestinian Americans

Where Were They From: Initially most Palestinian immigrants were Christians from the Syrian province of the Ottoman Empire that included the semiautonomous administrative district of Mt. Lebanon, the coastal mountain range between the Syrian port cities of Beirut and Tripoli.

The current number of immigrants from Palestine range between 100,000 and 400,000, with most scholars estimating it at about 200,000. According to Ken Kurson, “The difficulty in determining a more precise number results in part from the fact that there has never been an actual state of Palestine that immigrants could call their country of origin. In U.S. immigration and census records up to 1920 all Arabs, Turks, Armenians, and more were classified as coming from “Turkey in Asia,” and not until recently did the Immigration and Naturalization Service recognize “Palestinian” as a nationality. Palestinian immigrants may have come from within Israel or the occupied territories; one of the Arab countries that received refugees from the Arab-Israeli wars, especially Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria; or a country to which Palestinians immigrated in search of economic opportunity.”
(http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Pa-Sp/Palestinian-Americans.html)

 

When: Muslim Arabs have come to the United States since 1948. A big wave of immigrants arrived after the Six Day War in 1967, with an increase in the 1980s.
What region of the US did they settle:  They settled originally in the East Coast, Manhattan and Brooklyn, Boston, and Greater Detroit.
What occupations did they take part in: Similar to the national average, about 66% of Arab American adults are in the labor force; with 5% unemployed. 73% percent of working Arab Americans are employed in managerial, professional, sales or administrative fields. Most Arab Americans work in the private sector (79%), while 12% are government employees
What are the family patterns, rituals: The Arabs believe God is the originator of the family. It was established by God in His inaugural act of the marriage between a man and a woman. They believe the purpose of the family is to glorify and honor God by forming the spiritual, emotional, physical, and economic foundation for individuals, the church, and any society.
Are they a group that appreciates schooling: Arab Americans with at least a high school diploma number 89%. More 46% of Americans of Arab descent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 28% of Americans at large. 19% of Arab Americans have a post-graduate degree, which is nearly twice the American average (10%). Of the population currently enrolled in school, 13% are in pre-school, 57% are in elementary or high school, 22% are enrolled in college, and 7% are conducting graduate studies.
What are the basic demographics today? At least 3.5 million Americans are of Arab descent
About 94% of Arab Americans live in metropolitan areas. Los Angeles, Detroit, New York/New Jersey, Chicago and Washington, D.C. are the top five metropolitan areas for Arab American concentration.
While the largest Palestinian population is in California, the greatest concentration of Palestinians can be found in Illinois.
Fun Facts:   

Who is an Arab?
“Arab” is a cultural and linguistic term. It refers to those who speak Arabic as their first language. Arabs are united by culture and by history. Arabs are not a race. Some have blue eyes and red hair; others are dark skinned; many are somewhere in between. Most Arabs are Muslims but there are also millions of Christian Arabs and thousands of Jewish Arabs, just as there are Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Americans.
Who is a Muslim?
A Muslim is a follower of Islam. Read more about Islam on the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) website.
Resources and Additional Readings

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
http://www.adc.org/education/facts-about-islam/

Arab American Institute on Palestine
http://www.aaiusa.org/issues/palestine/

Aslan, Reza., Tapper, Aaron J. Hahn (Editors). Muslims and Jews in America: Commonalities, Contentions, and Complexities. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Christison, Kathleen. “The American Experience: Palestinians in the U.S.,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn 1989; pp. 18-36.

Clines, Francis X. “A West Bank Village’s Sons Return,” New York Times, February 15, 1988; p. A6.

Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674375123

Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU)
http://imeu.net/news/palestinian-americans.shtml

Palestinian Americans – History, Israel, Modern Era, Significant Immigration Waves, Settlement Patterns, Acculturation and Assimilation, Traditional Clothing
http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Pa-Sp/Palestinian-Americans.html

Palestinian Culture and Identity and the Role of Palestinian Women
http://www.mideastweb.org/palestinianwomen.htm

Labor for Palestine (U.S.)
http://www.laborforpalestine.net/2011/07/14/u-s-trade-union-statement-in-support-of-palestinian-call-for-full-and-immediate-arms-embargo-against-apartheid-israel/

Said, Edward. Out of Place: A Memoir. New York: Knopf, 1999.

Turki, Fawaz. Exile’s Return: The Making of a Palestinian American, New York: Free Press, 1994.

The Arab Population: 2000
http://www.scribd.com/doc/55069190/The-Arab-population-brief-2000-census

Greek Americans

Greek- Americans

Where Are They From:  Greek immigrants were one of the last European ethnic groups to come to America.
When Did They Arrive in US:  The first significant Greek community to develop was in New Orleans during the 1850s. By 1866, the community was numerous and prosperous enough to have a Greek consulate and the first Greek Orthodox church in the United States.
What Region of the US Did They Settle:  From Ellis Island they made their way to the streets of New York and Chicago, searching for someone with the same ethnic characteristics as their own who could help them find work.
What Occupations Did They Take Part In:  Sometimes they wandered about, lost in the city’s maze, until a labor agent, through signs, offered them work in mills, factories, or road gangs. The more fortunate ones, who knew countrymen already working in the textile cities, went directly to them. But some of these men could not adapt to the noise and confusions of the factories and their spirit of adventure led them to climb freights and travel over the plains and mountains to the West.

 

The first immigrants had their own stores featuring imported olive oil, octopi, goat cheese, wines, liqueurs, Greek and Turkish tobacco, figs and dates. There were also several coffeehouses where unscrupulous labor agents often preyed on their fellow countrymen. A newspaper in the Greek language was printed regularly with reports of church and community happenings and descriptions of weddings and baptisms.
What Are The Family Patterns, Rituals:  Men acted as the family’s outside representative, enjoying the social prestige and esteem that this role entailed; women were often the organizer of the household, the mediators in family disputes, and the guardians of the family’s cohesiveness. The family’s image rested in large measure on the woman’s ability to carry out her household duties properly.
The most important characteristic of the family in contemporary society is its fluidity, produced by a combination of three interrelated factors: a) the variety of socially acceptable family patterns according to which one may organize one’s private life; b) the possibility of individuals choosing the way in which they wish to organize their private lives; and c) the increased possibility of an individual choosing different, successive patterns during his or her lifetime.
If grandparents who live near their married children are added to families of three generations, the total percentage of daily contacts among the three generations usually increases. Exchange and assistance between the two adult generations and the young on the one hand, and influence of the elder relatives on the other, are common patterns.
Are They A Group That Appreciates Schooling:  The mission of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) is to promote Hellenism, Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence.  AHEPA members are proud of the ancient Greeks’ contributions to Western Civilization.  As Americans, we share many of the values put forth by them: civic responsibility, philanthropy, education, family and individual excellence, and the ideals of democracy. Moreover, throughout the span of its history, AHEPA has served as a vital vehicle for the progressive development and emergence of American citizens of Greek heritage into every facet of society: government, business, education, and the arts.

What Are The Basic Demographics Today?

 

As of 2008:
1,350,600-3,000,000
0.4%-1% of the total U.S. population

 

Greek Americans (Greek: Ελληνοαμερικανοί, Ellinoamerikani) are Americans of Greek descent also described as Hellenic descent. According to the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimation, there were 1,380,088 people of Greek ancestry in the United States, while the State Department mentions that around 3,000,000 Americans claim to be of Greek descent. In addition, the 2000 census revealed that Greek was spoken at home by 365,436 people older than five. Greek Americans have a heavy concentration in the New York City metropolitan area, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, and Cleveland. Tarpon Springs, Florida is also home to a large Greek American community and the highest concentration of Greek-Americans in the country (11%). The United States is home to the largest overseas Greek community, ahead of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, which despite having a Greek population of less than 1 million has a larger percentage of Greeks than the U.S.

 

Fun Facts:   

 

A Greek festival or Greek Fest is an annual celebration of Greek culture presented by many ethnic Greek American communities and organization in the United States and Canada, particularly Greek Orthodox churches. Typically, these events are intended for attendance by the general public. Attendees can sample Greek music, cuisine, and dance, typically performed in traditional dress. Such events are often fundraisers for Orthodox churches of the Greek Archdiocese.

 

There are over 1400 islands in Greece, with 227 being inhabited, although only 78 with more than 100 inhabitants.

The Greek alphabet has different characters than the Roman alphabet. There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet.

If you are invited to a Greek home, arriving 30 minutes late may be considered punctual!

 

Resources and Additional Readings

 

The Greek American Studies Resource Portal
http://mgsa.org/Resources/port.html
American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association
http://ahepa.org/dotnetnuke/

 

Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674375123

 

What was the role of women in Athens?
To live, controlled by the men in their lives!
http://www.angelfire.com/ca3/ancientchix/

 

Ancient Greece
http://www.ancientgreece.com/s/Main_Page/