Berkeley Digital Library

A Curriculum for Middle and High School Students


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Topics Exhibits
Immigration policies
What, when, and why people are admitted to or barred from the United States.
How the immigrant adjusts to a new society and how the immigrant is accepted or rejected as a newcomer.
How much diversity a country can tolerate in maintaining a common culture.
Industrial labor
The immigrant in the labor market, the issues of cheap labor, and the particular issues of a multicultural immigrant workforce.

Suggested Activities

Background to the Exhibits

The political cartoon on deportation, Goldman's account of her arrival in and deportation from the United States, and the New York Tribune article, "Anarchists Likely To Be Put on Ship Bound for Russia" in this section provide a dramatic point of introduction to Goldman--her deportation in 1919 to Soviet Russia. While the United States government over the years has deported only a small percentage of its millions of immigrants, nevertheless, deportation then and now is an element of American immigration policy.

Following World War I, high unemployment, labor unrest, and a growing intolerance for immigrants and their "foreign" ideas produced an atmosphere of heightened anti­radical feeling, commonly called the "Red Scare." The Russian Revolution of 1917 had increased fear in America that foreign­born radicals were planning to overthrow our government. U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL A. MITCHELL PALMER and his special assistant J. Edgar Hoover gathered evidence against foreign­born radicals. ANARCHISTS, who had been vocal in their opposition to World War I, were among the first groups to come under attack. In 1917, the office of Goldman's Mother Earth magazine was ransacked by government agents in search of incriminating evidence. On trial for opposing the DRAFT, Goldman was imprisoned and her deportation was recommended. J. Edgar Hoover turned the deportation of Emma Goldman and her colleague Alexander Berkman into a personal crusade, calling them in an official letter "beyond doubt, two of the most dangerous anarchists in this country."

In spite of Goldman's insistence that she was a citizen and not an alien, the government invalidated her citizenship and then used the anti­anarchist immigration law as grounds for her deportation. This law prohibited entry into the United States of any person who did not believe in organized government.

Goldman's thoughts On Becoming an Anarchist and her factory-working experience reveal how Goldman, an immigrant worker in late nineteenth­century America, experienced the dehumanizing effects of sweatshop labor in the textile industry.

Suggested Activities

  1. Create a radio drama complete with sound effects using the accounts from Goldman's arrival in and departure from the United States.

  2. Portray Goldman's arrival, her work in a textile factory, and her deportation in a dramatic presentation.

  3. Draw a political cartoon about the "Red Scare."

  4. Find information or photographs pertaining to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Design an exhibit with captions that explain how these symbols have been meaningful to immigrants.

  5. Look up the terms alien, deportee, and habeas corpus. Explain how they are used in the exhibits.

  6. Hold a debate on the issue of immigration quotas versus "open" immigration.

  7. Locate some Lewis Hine photographs. Find some contemporary photographs of immigrant workers to compare and contrast with Hine's images. Use all of the images to create a presentation on the theme of immigrant working conditions.

  8. Research the latest immigration statistics to determine:
    1. How many people immigrate to the United States annually?
    2. From which countries do they emigrate?
    3. What motivates immigrants to come to the United States?

  9. Using graphs and charts, compare your findings about recent immigration with immigration patterns in Goldman's time (between 1890 and 1920). What is similar? What is different?

  10. Design a questionnaire to evaluate the experience of recent immigrants to your school or community. Conduct a survey and report on your findings.

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