Glog thumbnail

Italian Immigration

Helping and Hurting During WWII all Italians were forced to register under the new Alien Registration Act which forced all immigrants to register in the United States. After WWII, the Italins caught a break. The G.I. Bill passed which gave benefits for all soldiers who fought in the war. More than one million Italians out of the total four and a half million that came to the United States fought in WWII. All veterans recieved free attendance to college, cheaper homes, and the possibility to get vocational training for little to no cost. They also recieved free medical care, unemployment compensation, and sometimes would receive pay even when they did not go to work on certain days. The G.I. Bill gave the Italians more oppotunities to learn and get better jobs, as well as getting compensation checks for fighting in the war. (ailf.org)

Reasons for Coming Most Italians came to the United States from 1876 to 1924. Most immigrants came from southern Italy where most lived in poverty, and everyone was struck by disaster. Northern Italy ran teh government, and put high taxes and tariffs on all industrial goods sold in the south, leaving most families poor. If that wasn't enough to leave the families with nothing, two volcanoes and a tsunami struck between cicili and the mainland, all within a twent five year period. Italians also left Italy because most southern families worked on their own farm, but there was too much erosion from the tsunami and volanoes for them to farm any more. Mostly males from age fourteen to twenty five left to America to send money back home for their families. Even some people from the north came to America to sell fruit and become wine growers. (digitalhistory.uh.edu)

Their Journy Most Italians came by ship to America. The vast Majority came in third class, and had to stand up all day on the crowded ship, and they would lay down at night and sleep on their one suitcase. The were served only soup during their trip, and had to bathe with salt water which would sometimes cause irritation and infection. They would arrive at Ellis Island, what they called "Isola della Lacrime" (translating to Island of Tears), they would be inspected for infections and diseases, and if they passed, would be let into the country(ailf.org). (yale.edu)

Challenges upon Arrival The Italians faced many difficulties when coming to America. Most Americans did not like the Italians because they believed that the Italians were stealing jobs from them because they would take jobs for any amount of money. Americans would decline service to them at stores, and made many anti-immigrant slogans. Not only did Americans hate the Italians, but all the other immigrants such as the Polish, Irish, and Portuguese despised them as well because of their religious beliefs. Most Italians came without knowing any English, and without any knowledge of how to do any type of work besides farming. Because of this, they took any job in the city for any amount of pay. They worked twelve to fourteen hour days and it was almost always hard manual labor jobs. Italians populated so much of big cities that ninety to ninety nine percent of Chicago and New York Citys public workers were Italian immigrants (digitalhistory.uh.edu). Italian immigrants had to face racism all the time while here but the biggest offense toward them was being arrested for no reason. If someone was murdered at a job, the cops would come and automatically arrest any Italian immigrants, saying that they were in the mob (yale.edu).

Keeping Culture The Italians tried to stay together and avoid the new environment as much as possible. In order to do this they set up "Little Italys" which were neighbor hood size mini towns inside larger towns such as Chicago. They would have Italian newspapers with news from Italy, written in Italian. They had small businesses run by only Italians, and they had fruit and other food stands. Most did go outside the Little Italys in order to get more work though. (ailf.org)

Interesting Facts 32% of Italys Population from 1876-1924 immigrated to America(ailf.org) Italians didn't work as farmers when the arrived because land cost too much, it reminded them of home, and it would mean being too isolated from their friends(yale.edu)

Italian Immigration Today Most Italians that come to America now come by Plane as ship is no longer used often. Most Italians come not for jobs so much anymore, but for family and friends.(ailf.org)

ellisisland.org

ailf.org

Images

Click on the thumbnail to see original image.

Image Image