The Parallels to Today


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A few minutes before series starts–Betty Cherry Heritage Hall at Mount Mercy is filling up.

One thing about a history lecture—it can leave you mildly depressed, thinking “we’ve seen it before.”

In the wake of World War I, restrictive immigration rules were put in place in reaction to the Red Scare. A poster from that era proclaims “America for Americans.” The poster was made by the KKK.

Throughout America’s history, this land of immigrants has struggled with fear of the newcomer. In the 19th century, it as the Irish who were destroying the fabric of this country. Late in that century, we feared the “yellow menace” and banned Chinese immigration.

Now, we are worried about Hispanics, especially Mexicans.

It was interesting to hear MMU Assistant Professor of History Allison McNeese briefly cover the story of the U.S. and Iowa from an immigration point of view. She used many period images—quotes from letters, editorial cartoons and photographs.

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Allison McNeese shows a World War I Ding Darling cartoon from the Des Moines Register showing fear of the state’s large German population during World War I.

image of logo-color.jpgThe 2016 Fall Faculty Series: Building Walls, Building Bridges: The U.S. as an Immigrant Nation got off to a good start tonight. Approximately 100 people crowded into Betty Cherry Heritage Hall to hear McNeese speak.

Afterwards, there were cookies in the library by a set of posters that display information on U.S. immigration. I suppose my one regret is we didn’t have more people come down to the library to view the posters, but the good news is they will be on display for some time.

If you missed the first event, don’t despair—there’s lots more to come. More of my photos from day 1 here. Check out the whole series at www.mtmercy.edu/immigration.

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