The Global Origins of the American People
Publication Year: 2005
Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians represent three of every four immigrants who arrived in the United States after 1970. Yet despite their large numbers and long history of movement to America, non-Europeans are conspicuously absent from many books about immigration.
In Other Immigrants, David M. Reimers offers the first comprehensive account of non-European immigration, chronicling the compelling and diverse stories of frequently overlooked Americans. Reimers traces the early history of Black, Hispanic, and Asian immigrants from the fifteenth century through World War II, when racial hostility led to the virtual exclusion of Asians and aggression towards Blacks and Hispanics. He then tells the story of post-1945 immigration, when these groups dominated the immigration statistics and began to reshape American society.
The capstone to a lifetime of groundbreaking work on immigration, Reimers’s thoughtful history recognizes the ambiguity and subjectivity of race, noting that individuals often define themselves more complexly than census forms allow. However classified, record numbers of immigrants are streaming to the United States and creating the most diverse society in the world. Other Immigrants is a timely account of their arrival.
Published by: NYU Press
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A good deal of my prior research and writing has focused on immigrants other than Europeans, migrants some scholars label “people of color.” These immigrants include Latinos, Asians, and blacks. I pulled together some of my thoughts on these millions of persons for an essay published by the American Historical Association’s Teaching Diversity...
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Thirty-five years ago this book, which is a history of the first generation of blacks, Asians, and Hispanics coming to America, could not have been written. The essential scholarship was uneven, and in many cases historians and other scholars had no knowledge of particular immigrant and ethnic groups. The history of African Americans...
Part I: From beyond Europe, 1492– 1940
After 1492 the French, Spanish, and English were the major explorers of America, but the Dutch West India Company was also active. Once the colonies became established, Europeans, especially those from the British Isles, were most influential. Europeans had the greatest numbers, and they had the power to control the largest group...
1. The Beginnings, 1550–1900
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European men and women were not the only people exploring and settling in what is now the United States. Although Africans did not send ships to the Western Hemisphere, they worked on European vessels, sometimes in positions of authority; it was not unheard of for persons of one nationality or ethnicity to captain ships of...
2. Asians in Hawaii and the United States
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While Chinese workers in Hawaii and merchants and students on the mainland related their experiences back home, it was the discovery of gold in California that prompted thousands to leave for America. In 1849 only 345 Chinese “forty-niners” arrived; 450 more joined them the next year, and then came a rapid increase: 20,026 landed...
3. North to America, 1900–1940
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The census of 1870 counted approximately 10,000 foreign-born blacks. Nearly a third were from Canada, no doubt the descendants of those taken there after the American Revolution and those whose slave ancestors had fled to Canada before the Civil War. After that date, black migration to America resumed, although, of course, none...
Part II: The Emergence of a New Multicultural Society, 1940– Present
Since the end of World War II, and especially after 1965, a surge of new immigrants has been altering America’s demography. When the United States entered World War II, the conditions changed for some Asians, Latinos, and blacks, though not necessarily for the better. Japanese Americans on the West Coast were interned by the...
4. El Norte: Mexicans, 1940–Present
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Of the latest newcomers from Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, Latinos constitute about half. And, among the countries sending Spanish-speaking immigrants to the United States, none have been so important as Mexico. Mexicans account for approximately 60 percent of the nation’s Hispanics, and amount to...
5. Central and South Americans
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Although Mexican immigrants have accounted for more than 60 percent of the Latinos who arrived in the United States in the past half century, substantial numbers of Central and South Americans, who established communities in the United States before 1950, have also swelled immigration totals. According to the 2000 census, Latinos, whose...
6. Across the Pacific Again: East Asian Immigrants
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During World War II, many Americans began to change their views about Asians. Chinese Americans especially found new economic opportunities, and their participation in the military was welcomed. As K. Scott Wong observed, “Whether or not World War II should be considered the major watershed in twentieth-century American...
7. Across the Pacific Again: South Asian Immigrants
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The renewed non-European immigration also included South Asians, who had come in small numbers before World War II. The Asian Indian migration flow began with legislation in 1946 that permitted the entry of 100 Indian immigrants yearly and granted them the right to naturalization. Two decades later the Hart-Celler Act of 1965 gave India...
8. Middle Easterners
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Few Middle Easterners came to the United States before the 1880s. When they did, the immigrants traveled from ports in the Mediterranean Sea on the journey to America. Mainly from the Ottoman Empire, they consisted of a variety of groups and cultures, just as Asians and European immigrants differed. Among them were Chaldeans...
9. The New Black Immigrants
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Since the end of the World War II, more black immigrants have entered the United States than during the slave era, when 450,000 black slaves were forced to migrate from their homes to America. Of course slaves were hardly immigrants with legal rights; neither did they arrive of their own volition. For eighty years after the Civil War, free blacks...
10. The Refugees: Cubans and Asians
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During the 1930s and World War II, few refugees seeking a haven in the United States were able to settle in America. After World War II, with America’s emergence as a superpower and the influence of the cold war, immigration and refugee policy shifted, and the United States admitted several million persons as refugees or displaced...
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The surge of immigration of “people of color” in the last three decades can scarcely be missed. The majority of immigrants have settled in six states (California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Florida, and Illinois) and in large metropolitan areas such as New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston. But they have...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 399
Publication Year: 2005