The subject of this paper is the immigration of my forebears to the United States. I shall begin by discussing what was going on in the rest of the world during the emigration of my forebears and how it pertains to their emigration. I will then discuss the time and location of their emigration and the political, economic, and social conditions that led them to emigrate. I will follow this by describing the opportunities they sought in America. Finally, I will consider the traditions and practices of my family and the place those have in my life and in my idea of what an American is.
After World War I, governments were weak and unemployment was rising in many cities through out Europe (BBC/Fascism 2). Mussolini was Italy’s dictator in the 1920s and the 1930s, while fascism was sweeping through Italy with its stringent socioeconomic controls (BBC/Fascism 4). The American Stock exchange crashed, leading to the Depression in the 1930’s (BBC/Hitler 7). In Germany, Adolph Hitler came to power, in January, 1933 (BBC/Roadwar 2).
“Poverty, overpopulation, and natural disaster all spurred Italian emigration” (Gliah 1).
Life in their homeland was difficult. “For centuries Italy was divided into feuding states, with foreign powers often ruling over several of the states. In this chaotic situation, the feudal system ruled the economic system. The feudal system allowed hereditary land possession to determine one’s political power and social status, so many poor Italians had almost no opportunity to improve their lives” (Needham 1). “The Italian government was dominated by northerners, and southerners were hurt by high taxes and high protective tariffs on northern industrial goods” (Gliah 1). During the early twentieth century southern Italy was plagued with natural disasters. Thousands of people were killed due to an earthquake and tidal wave. Volcanic eruptions were destroying towns (Gliah 1). Like my grandmother, the majority of Italian immigrants to the United States came from Southern Italy (Marist 1).
My grandmother, Carmela Cennamo, immigrated to the United States in 1934 from Naples, Italy. She was one of many family members to immigrate to this country. Her brother and cousin were already here and working when she arrived.
My ancestors came to this country for a better life. The decision to migrate was made by my grandmother’s mother after my grandmother’s father died and the family was unable to support itself. All of them were hard working people and were willing to do whatever they had to, to create a future for themselves. My grandmother and her family believed their dreams would be fulfilled in America.
My grandmother was 17 years old when she came to this country. She was able to find a job doing assembly work. She also...