More than at any time since the 1920's the issues of immigration and ethnicity have become central to discussions of American society and identity. Becoming American, Becoming Ethnic addresses this contemporary debate, bringing together essays written over the past eighteen years by college students exploring their ethnic roots—from the experiences of their forbears to the place of ethnicity in their lives.
The students range from descendants of Europeans whose families immigrated several generations ago to Asian and Latin American immigrants of more recent decades to African-Americans and Hispanics—some have more than one ethnic heritage to grapple with, while others have migrated from one place to another within the United States. Together their voices create a dialogue about the interplay of ethnic traditions and values with American culture.
These are moving personal reflections on the continuities and changes in the ethnic experience in the United States and on the evolving meaning of ethnicity over time and across generations. Despite vocal concerns in recent years about ethnic divisiveness, these student writings show how much many young Americans share even in their differences.
In the series Critical Perspectives on the Past, edited by Susan Porter Benson, Stephen Brier, and Roy Rosenzweig.
A classroom staple, Immigrant Voices: New Lives in America, 1773-2000 has been updated with writings that reflect trends in immigration to the United States through the turn of the twenty-first century. New chapters include a selection of letters from Irish immigrants fleeing the famine of the 1840s, writings from an immigrant who escaped the civil war in Liberia during the 1980s, and letters that crossed the U.S.-Mexico border during the late 1980s and early '90s. With each addition editor Thomas Dublin has kept to his original goals, which was to show the commonalities of the U.S. immigrant experience across lines of gender, nation of origin, race, and even time.