Paradise Valley Community College launches a year-long discussion on the theme of Civil Discourse Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 with the presentation of ”405 Years of Immigration to America: Ethnicity, Public Opinion and Policy” by Brian Gratton, Ph.D., professor of history at Arizona State University.
This series, sponsored by the PVCC Buxton Library and Center for International Studies, is free and open to the public. Dr. Gratton will speak at 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the southeast corner of the Library.
In this historical perspective of immigration to America, he will discuss Thomas Jefferson’s comments on immigrants in his “Notes on the State of Virginia;” Henry Cabot Lodge’s 1896 speech to Congress on “The Restriction of Immigration;” and Ronald Reagan’s 1984 debate with Walter Mondale. Read the Republican and Democratic 2012 Platforms’ planks on immigration.
While immigration provides one of the central myths of our national identity, the reaction of the public to newcomers has often been less than welcoming. Using PowerPoint images, audio and video from a variety of eras and regions, including Arizona, Dr. Gratton explores core census and immigration evidence and records the strident views of supporters and opponents. Ethnicities among immigrants changed sharply, from English and African, to German and Irish, to Italian and Jewish, and to Mexican and Asian. Their successive experience reveals the long, difficult history of immigration, the sharp, often negative reaction to it among the American people, and an official policy that rarely reflected popular will. Concluding with a close review of ethnicity, reaction, and policy in the contemporary period, Gratton will let the audience judge whether history has lessons to teach us in the current debate.
Gratton has published widely on immigration and immigration policy in the United States, Latin America and Europe. He has served as a Fulbright Fellow in Spain (1996) and Ecuador (2002). He was the Director of the Project, “Refuge & Rejection,” an online site for work by humanists on refugees. He has also participated extensively in projects with school districts in Arizona, bringing historians into collaboration with teachers and students in public schools.
Sources: Arizona Speakers Bureau and Arizona State University