IV. Immigrants 1925 to 198) and 1982 to 2005
There were approximately 24 million immigrants to arrive in the U.S. between 1880 and 1920. These immigrants came mainly from Southern and Eastern European nations including Italy, Croatia, Greece, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungry, and Russia. Due to industrialization the population of Europe and the U.S. is stated to have almost doubled with 60 million individuals leaving Europe during that time and nearly half of them coming to the U.S. Of the 165,248 immigrants from the South of Italy in 1909 135,080 were males and 30,168 were females. Of those arriving from Northern Italy 18884 were males and 6,306 were females. Of those immigrants that arrived from Ireland, 15,785 were males and 15,000 were females. (Guthrie, 1911) Immigrants in 1907 were as follows:
It is clear that there has been a great shift in the nationality of those immigrating to the United States. As shown in the table above the number of African individual immigrating in 1910 totaled 85,102 as compared to only 8,867 in 2005 and the number of European immigrants to the United States is a mere fraction of those represented in 1910. Immigrants to the U.S. from South America has fallen greatly while Asian immigrants to the U.S. has grown from the 1910 total of 8,867 to a total of 400,153 for 2005.
It is reported that World War II was the beginning of the evolution of the civil rights movement and in 1940 there was a March on Washington and in 1948 the threat of a black boycott of the draft. The African-American's political power had grown by the 1940's as had the threat of mass action which began in the armed forces. The reasons that this transformation occurred was inclusive of the growing urbanization of the African-American with nearly 50% residing in cities and a labor shortage during wartime. (U.S. Military History, nd)
The labor shortage in combination with the Fair Employment Practices Committee and other government agencies made jobs available to African-Americans that had previously been de3nied to them. In fact, the numbers of African-Americans who were foremen, craftsman and semiskilled workers grew from approximately 500,000 to more than one million during the war with African-Americans employed by the federal government increasing from approximately 60,000 to 200,000. (U.S. Military History, nd)
The United States armed forces role in this change was great indeed as African-Americans received better food, pay and better living conditions due to service members and gained new experience in various lines of work. Military service in World War II is stated to have: "…divorced many Negroes from a society whose traditions had carefully defined their place, and exposed them for the first time to a community where racial equality, although imperfectly realized, was an ideal.
Out of this experience many Negroes came to understand that their economic and political position could be changed. Ironically, the services themselves became an early target of this rising self-awareness. The integration of the armed forces, immediate and total, was a popular goal of the newly franchised voting group, which was turning away from leaders of both races who preached a philosophy of gradual change." (U.S. Military History, nd)
It is also reported that the black press served as spokesman for the armed forces demand for equality and specifically reported is the Pittsburg Courier which is stated to have gained national circulation and to have featured many articles concerning discrimination in the U.S. armed services. (U.S. Military History, nd)
The work of Ronald Takaki stresses that the change affecting American society now is momentous -- the passing of an America in which being white was the norm and non-whites were minorities, to one where whites are only one of several major ethnic/racial groups. The question examined in this section of the study is whether such racial divisions will be enduring. The change that has taken place in American society in terms of racial division is noted in the work of Ronald Takaki who stresses that the change that is affecting American society is now great indeed and notes that this change is one in which the American in which being white was the norm with non-whites as minorities is fading into the distance as such racial divisions as have been previously known will no longer endure.
Takaki not4es that President Clinton stated that the challenge faced is that "More than 30 years ago, at the high tide of the civil rights movement, the Kerner Commission said we3 were becoming two Americas, one white, one black, separate but unequal." (Takaki, p. 435) Takaki state that the future:
"…is in our hands. The choices we make will be influenced by whether our memory of the past is the Master Narrative of American History or the narrative of 'a different mirror'. A history that leaves out minorities reinforces separation, but an inclusive history bridges the divide."
Takaki writes that a 're-visioned history' is needed or what was termed by Gloria Steinem as a 'revolution from within' which requires "unlearning much of what we have been told about America's apst and substituting a more inclusive and accurate history of all the peoples of America." (Takaki, 2008, p. 436) As history has demonstrated such racial divisions cannot endure and this is because the lines dividing the races has been crossed and then recrossed.
For example, Tiger Woods, from all appearances is an African-American but Woods is also Thai on his mother's side. Another example stated in the work of Takaki is Barak Obama who is African-American and Asian-American. President Obama's sister is married to a Chinese Canadian and his stepfather was Indonesian. According to Takaki, "America's dilemma has been the denial of our immensely varied selves." (2008, p. 437)
It is certain that the racial divisions that have previously characterized the landscape of American society will not endure as the racial dividing lines are increasingly becoming blurred. Interracial families and heritage is becoming more the norm than the 'whiteness' that had previously characterized the demographical face of American society. As noted by Takaki, the heritage of America at large is formed by bits and pieces of each race and ethnicity that has served to build and form what is now America including the languages of various nationalities and race as well as the holidays, religious beliefs, mores and customs all blending together into one giant melting pot that is the American society of today.
Takaki states for example that the word 'Yankee' was derived from the reference of the Cherokees to English individuals from the Cherokee work 'eankkee' Rock and Roll and the Blues have their origins in Africa and America. The National Anthem was written by a Russian-Jewish Immigrant and specifically the individual named Israel Baline but known as Irvin Berlin. Takaki notes that Herman Melville write a century ago that America "is not a nation 'so much as a new world' and that America is a society in which the 'prejudices of national dislikes' could be forever extinguished'. (2008, p. 439)