Cart 0

Crossing Borders and Crossing Time: A Tableau of African Immigration and Migration in America

Author: Stacia D. Parker


Parkway West High School

Year: 2008

Seminar: From West Africa to West Philadelphia

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: African Americans, Africans, West Philadelphia

School Subject(s): Social Studies

This curriculum unit will examine transformations and journeys, both external (immigrants) and internal (migrants) from the African Diaspora to America. During this unit the goal of my teaching is that students will learn who they are, who their neighbors are, where they come from and what cultural and social traditions they have in common with their neighbors. Students will learn that Africa is a continent comprised of 54 countries, hundreds of tribes, cultures, languages, and cultural traditions. In other words, Africans are not homogenous and that my African-American students sit in class and live amongst African students from various African countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Senegal. Students will also learn that until recently people of African descent have not been counted as part of America’s migratory tradition. The Transatlantic Slave Trade has created an indelible image of African men and women, children as transported chattel and is considered the most defining element in the arrival of Africans to America. However, the journey to America’s shores is only the first wave of immigration experienced by Africans in the Diaspora. A series of migrations would occur before African-Americans would truly consider themselves home. Indeed, students will ultimately understand why these journeys were undertaken and why Africans are still immigrating to the United States despite the government’s rigorous restrictions that limit the amount of Africans entering the country.


This unit is designed for secondary students who are studying texts in English class that explore themes of journeys, migration, immigration, or coming –of –age stories. There is a strong emphasis on texts that cross-reference and incorporate World History, oral history, and African-American History in the English II curriculum. Therefore, lessons will focus primarily on reading historical fiction, fiction, researching primary and secondary records, conducting oral histories through interviews with African student immigrants to record their strong presence in West and Southwest Philadelphia. Memoirs, autobiographies, and newspaper articles will serve as the primary texts to introduce students to the African-American migratory experiences. Additionally, maps, surveys, census data, vital statistics records, and photographs/films will be


utilized to help students dismantle borders that have prevented them from connecting to their immigrant classmates.

Download Unit: Stacia-Parker-2.pdf

Did you try this unit in your classroom? Give us your feedback here.

Full Unit Text

This curriculum unit will examine transformations and journeys, both external (immigrants) and internal (migrants) from the African Diaspora to America. During this unit the goal of my teaching is that students will learn who they are, who their neighbors are, where they come from and what cultural and social traditions they have in common with their neighbors. Students will learn that Africa is a continent comprised of 54 countries, hundreds of tribes, cultures, languages, and cultural traditions. In other words, Africans are not homogenous and that my African-American students sit in class and live amongst African students from various African countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Senegal. Students will also learn that until recently people of African descent have not been counted as part of America’s migratory tradition. The Transatlantic Slave Trade has created an indelible image of African men and women, children as transported chattel and is considered the most defining element in the arrival of Africans to America. However, the journey to America’s shores is only the first wave of immigration experienced by Africans in the Diaspora. A series of migrations would occur before African-Americans would truly consider themselves home. Indeed, students will ultimately understand why these journeys were undertaken and why Africans are still immigrating to the United States despite the government’s rigorous restrictions that limit the amount of Africans entering the country.

This unit is designed for secondary students who are studying texts in English class that explore themes of journeys, migration, immigration, or coming –of –age stories. There is a strong emphasis on texts that cross-reference and incorporate World History, oral history, and African-American History in the English II curriculum. Therefore, lessons will focus primarily on reading historical fiction, fiction, researching primary and secondary records, conducting oral histories through interviews with African student immigrants to record their strong presence in West and Southwest Philadelphia. Memoirs, autobiographies, and newspaper articles will serve as the primary texts to introduce students to the African-American migratory experiences. Additionally, maps, surveys, census data, vital statistics records, and photographs/films will be utilized to help students dismantle borders that have prevented them from connecting to their immigrant classmates.

“Crossing Borders and Crossing Times” presents a new interpretation of the concept of immigration. This interpretation is necessary because the terms: immigrant and enslaved people often evoke contrasting feelings and images that are often separate and distinct. Yet, enslaved people became immigrants when they were transported across the ocean to a foreign country and experienced the same isolation, segregation, and assimilation issues as their European counterparts arriving in America. In fact, enslaved Africans issues were exacerbated by their lack of freedom and complete disconnect from their families. These are important points that must be seriously considered when discussing immigrants and immigration. In fact, enslaved Africans journey would fit perfectly into Merriam- Webster definition of immigration as the process where a person enters a country to take up legal, permanent residence in a foreign country. This definition accurately depicts the process of Africans coming to America; albeit, against their will, yet they were not documented as immigrants. In failing to document the arrival of Africans to America the United States rendered millions of people invisible and by law illegal. Since Africans were illegally and forcibly transported to the United States from 1600-1800 and established on a continent that was previously unknown to them; they are, in fact, as poet Emma Lazarus states in The New Colossus part of the “poor, huddled, tired, captured masses yearning to breathe free.” Centuries would pass before African immigrants or their children born in America would be free.

Moreover, there are documented migrations of people of African descent from the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa to the rural South, from the rural South to the North, and from the North to the entire nation. This migratory pattern encompasses the same push, pull, and enabling factors of turn of the century European immigrants to America. The same sense of loss, fractured families, and economic instability plagued these Africans in America as well as their European counterparts. Who would dare say that a people uprooted from their land and placed in totally unfamiliar surroundings are not immigrants. Included in this concept are the voluntary movements of resourceful and creative men and women who were risk takers leaving hostile environments seeking the proverbial “pursuit of happiness.”

This unit will demonstrate how survival skills, efficient networks, and an indomitable will to survive and succeed led African immigrants to be at the core of the settlement and development of the Americas. Their hopeful journeys changed not only their world and the fabric of the African Diaspora but also the Western world. Migration has been integral in contributing African-American history and culture to the overall American melting pot.

Specifically, students will learn about two famous African Presidents, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria who traveled to West Philadelphia in the early 20th century to live, work, and study as students at the University of Pennsylvania. Both leaders played significant roles in the political, economic, and educational development of their respective countries. Time spent studying in the United States has been cited as influencing their contributions in Philadelphia and abroad. Dubbed “the father of Nigerian nationalism” Azikiwe constructed a blueprint for independence in his native Nigeria to free his countrymen from colonial rule. Nkrumah accomplished this same feat in his native country, Ghana, which was formerly known as the Gold Coast. These Africans came to the United States with the explicit intention of returning home to improve their countries, a practice that is still prevalent today. Students will study these African immigrants to Philadelphia by reading their autobiographies.

In addition to the history of Nkrumah and Azikiwe, and African immigrants to Philadelphia at the turn of the 21st century, this unit will examine causes and outcomes of global migration from Haiti, Sudan, and Liberia. These countries were selected because their citizens are involved in major world conflicts such as a 14 year civil war, massive genocide, and consistent refusal of the United States to accept Haitian immigrants, refugees, or asylees. Selected excerpts from the Great Migration from the rural south to Philadelphia will receive some attention as well.

By the end of this unit students will be able to analyze the causes and effects of events that led to immigration and mass migration. Students will be able to understand immigrants and migrants’ deep desires to establish new neighborhoods, new neighbors, and ultimately blend into new societies. Lastly, students will critically evaluate the journey of people who sever ties with their traditional community and set out in search of new opportunities, new challenges, new lives, and new worlds. As the United States grapples with immigration laws, the United States 2000 census have identified 35 million African-Americans presently living in the country which have formed and transformed the American mosaic that is often referred to as the melting pot.


Oral traditions, language patterns, call and response, extended family, execution of rhythmic dance moves, and complex musical lyrics are just a few of the traditions that connect Africans and African-Americans. On a deeper level both groups have at one time or another had to endure the stigma of being a racialized outsider while trying to gain the acceptance of their peers. Moreover, close examination of transformations and journeys, internal and external, shared between immigrants and migrants are integral to African and African American students crossing borders and understanding the necessity of erasing boundaries in the 21st century. The erasure of boundaries and time would reveal that the only significant barrier between the two is entrenched in a lack of knowledge, communication, and exploration of the customs, values and social and cultural traditions that unify them.

To achieve these goals students must be informed about the broader issues of immigration law and practices in the United States and how it impacts the arrival of illegal and legal immigrants. Next, they must study African nations facing civil unrest, massive genocide, and the omnipresent universal desire of humans to escape impoverished living conditions. Finally, by studying immigration, noteworthy immigrants, themes, symbols, and heroic immigrants in fiction and nonfiction texts, students will be able to broaden their thinking to walk the proverbial mile “in the immigrants’ shoes.” After completing this journey the African-American student’ will realize they should be forging bonds with Africans in America and vice-versa, just as their forefathers’ forged bonds in pursuit of freedom and the right of the people to peacefully petition the government for a redress of grievances. Students will ultimately realize that they’re part of the migratory tradition that brought their ancestors from down South to up North to West Philadelphia.

Historical Background

Involuntary immigration is how the presence of Africans in America was established in Pennsylvania in 1682 when it was originally founded as one of the 13 colonies that would eventually achieve statehood under its founder, William Penn, in 1787. In First City, historian, Gary Nash, recounts the earliest group of African immigrants in November 1684, when the Isabella, out of Bristol, England sailed up the Delaware with 150 Africans in chains. “This marked the beginning of the extensive intermingling of white and black Philadelphians that has continued ever since,” said Nash. For Africans, the city of Philadelphia was not the city of brotherly love and sisterly hugs; rather, it was a city of shrugs and favor for slave traders and slave owners. Hence, only African-American immigrants have the pejorative distinction of initially arriving in America against their will, “they arrived shackled, chained, and harnessed with a bell to prevent freedom from enslavement,” as Nash duly noted. Indeed, there is no evidence that mid-17th century Africans had a desire to leave their homeland. Consequently, this act of grand larceny would also make Africans, America’s first illegal undocumented immigrants. Prior to the Isabella’s arrival Joe Trotter and Eric Ledell-Smith, further confirm the existence of African immigrants in, African Americans in Pennsylvania, that Pennsylvania’s first African Americans lived in the Delaware River Valley region as early as 1639. Thus, Philadelphia became the major Pennsylvania port for the arrival of slaves, at first from South Carolina and the Caribbean and later directly from Africa.

Furthermore, according to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission archives, in 1729, the market demand for urban slaves in Pennsylvania increased and the absence of a plantation economy found slaves working alongside their masters as sail makers, bakers, carpenters, farmhands or domestic servants. Despite Quaker opposition to slavery, about 4,000 slaves were imported directly from Africa to Pennsylvania by 1730. Most of them were owned by English, Welsh, and Scotch-Irish colonists. Also, it is noteworthy that eight of the fourteen ships carrying Africans to Philadelphia between 1759 and 1766 were recorded as entering from Guinea or the Gold Coast.

The Pennsylvania Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 was the first emancipation statute in the United States and to the dismay of Southern states Philadelphia passed a law which stated that no African American born after 1780 would be enslaved past the age of twenty-eight. On account of the Gradual Abolition Act, Pennsylvania Past and Present, a state archives document reports, the 3,737 member African slave population of 1790 dropped to 64 by 1840, and by 1850 all Africans in Pennsylvania were free unless they were identified as fugitive slaves. In stark contrast to the Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 the nation witnessed the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which was important because it made it illegal to harbor run away slaves and allowed them to be transported back down South. Nonetheless, Philadelphia’s African community counted 6,500 free people in 1790 according to the census and increased to 57,000 free immigrants in 1860.

Philadelphia was the place where the Africans formed a society of free people who openly practiced their cultural traditions and spoke their native tongue. In 1775, the first abolitionist group –the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage-met in Philadelphia. The predominately Quaker group later reorganized under the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and operated a school for black children in Philadelphia called Clarkson Hall. As the movement gained supporters, two more abolitionist groups formed in Philadelphia, the American AntiSlavery Society and the Philadelphia Female Antislavery Society. These groups were not the only people fighting to abolish slavery. Across the Atlantic Ocean the fight would be physical, intense, costly, and brutally shed the blood of thousands. However, the outcome of the battle would focus the nation’s attention on the ever-present issue of slavery.

During 1793, a slave uprising was occurring in the French colony of Saint Domingue which would ultimately lead to the first successful slave revolt in history. Haiti, formerly known as Saint Domingue, declared its independence from France in 1804. To escape death and property destruction French planters fled the colony and dragged 900 slaves to North America. Coincidentally, Southern slaves were running away ‘up North’ to obtain freedom. Both groups would be responsible for creating the second wave of African immigrants arriving in Philadelphia. Ironically, although slaves were freed because of the Gradual Abolition Act, they were immediately indentured for long periods of service. To address this issue and many others, Richard Allen, a great founding religious father, opened Mother Bethel Church and it became home to many of the city’s free African-Americans. Later it would become home to many African Americans who migrated up North.

Meanwhile in 1837, the newly formed Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society witnessed Philadelphia host the first black political annual convention and establish the Institute for Colored Youth, which would later become Cheyney University, the nation’s oldest Historically Black University. All of this abolitionist activity infuriated supporters of slavery who burned down Pennsylvania Hall, the meeting place for abolitionists. This violent act demonstrated that deep divisions existed over the question of abolition. Although sparks were flying the ground work had been laid which established Philadelphia as a friend of the first undocumented immigrants to the United States. By the end of the Civil War and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 the institution of slavery cracked, crumbled, and collapsed.

Philadelphia had become a beacon of freedom as Southern blacks fled from slavery during The Civil War (1861-1865). The war, its aftermath, and a chronic shortage of labor during World War 11 were responsible for creating the third waveThe Great Migration of African – Americans arriving in Philadelphia. Seeking to shed their slave status, and seeking the opportunity to live and work in an established vibrant African –American community with a variety of schools, churches, and prominent black citizens, Southern blacks, migrated up north to “the promised land.” Upon their arrival they would discover the vital role of the church and they would discover that the ‘promised land’ was still a work in progress.

The church was the most important institution among African Americans other than family; not only, did it fill deep spiritual and inspirational needs; it also developed community and political leaders and was free of white supervision. Being free of white supervision was important because it also meant being free of degrading treatment as the following anecdote from Nikki Taylor, Frontiers of Freedom: Cincinnati’s Black Community demonstrates in this passage:

“In Philadelphia and in other Northern cities, free black churchgoers had worshipped in white churches … .As a rule, blacks had endured segregated seating in galleries, dark corners, or pews designated “nigger pews” at the back of the church. During Sunday morning worship in St. George’s Methodist Church, blacks routinely had been required to give up their seats to whites. Once whites had filled all of the available seats, African Americans were forced to stand along the wall.”

These events and others served as a catalyst for Reverends Richard Allen and Absalom Jones to begin the establishment of black churches in Philadelphia. Bethel Church and St. Thomas Episcopal were Philadelphia’s first black churches that served as a beacon of hope, progress and independence in the black community. Later, the Bethel Church would be incorporated as an independent, African Methodist Episcopal Church, the first independent black church in the nation with Allen as its first bishop. A national movement to establish independent black churches had begun in Philadelphia and had spread across the country. Certainly, even with racial problems Philadelphia remained a beacon of freedom and hope. Perhaps, this is why Philadelphia witnessed according to The Philadelphia Housing Association study of 1924 the arrival of over 50,000 migrants at the beginning of the twentieth century. Many of the migrants to Philadelphia were primarily from the Southern states of Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland and they joined Mother Bethel A.M.E church with a letter written by the pastor of their former church as church documents attest. Moreover, they were classified as urban or rural migrants and this distinction had a direct impact on one’s ability to gain employment.

It’s imperative to note that Southern migrants were not only pushed out of the South they were also pulled to the North.” The bondage of debt associated with cotton farming and the terror of the lynch mob caused many families to flee the South coupled with the opportunity to make more money up North and receive a better education,” were the reasons listed by heads of households for coming to Philadelphia, Robert Gregg, writes in Sparks from the Anvil of Oppression. Family ties or connections to the Philadelphia area were often cited as enabling families to arrive in Philadelphia without the added burden of having to find housing. Unfortunately, finding skilled employment was not as easy because even with experience very few firms in Philadelphia employed black people in skilled positions during the 1920’s the Philadelphia Housing Association study discovered. To alleviate some of these problems and attract new members to Mother Bethel a leaflet was distributed in the South with this short poem,

“Let This Be Your Home”:

Beloved, let this be your home

Even if your stay is short.

To all, I say, never roam.

Heaven loves a contrite heart.

Enter Bethel, enter now,

Let the spirit teach you how

To the “City of Brotherly Love”

You are welcome;

At Mother Bethel you

Will be at home.

The Information Bureau’s leaflets from Mother Bethel continued to attract large numbers of migrants until migration levels tapered off and a proliferation of black churches with different denominations sprang up throughout the city. As a result of the Great Migration, African-Americans residents in West, Southwest, and North Philadelphia can trace first generation relatives who migrated up North from down South.



Analyze author’s use of symbolism

Analyze setting

Identify and analyze theme

Analyze rhythm, meter, and rhyme

Analyze how imagery and word choice help develop theme

Analyze situational irony

Evaluate informational text


Personal narrative based on the style and theme of literature being studied

Writing Process: Prewriting/planning and writing a first draft

Edit for organization and focus

Writing (Research)

Select topic for research paper

Prewriting/Planning: Formulate a thesis statement

Select primary/secondary sources related to topic

Divide note cards into direct quotes, paraphrases and summaries


As students encounter informational texts many struggle to understand complex ideas that are part of a larger issue. To aid students in understanding text with layers of information and numerous pathways to understanding it is essential to provide student’s multiple opportunities to read, write, speak and listen to text. Moreover, the consistent integration of before, during, and after reading strategies will enable student’s to build background knowledge needed for to analyze texts and identify the author’s purpose. The following strategies are consistent with data that says even struggling reader’s can access text with consistent instruction and modeling of the following:

Preview vocabulary

  • Identify important words and/or terminology that students are likely to have difficulty with
  • Direct students to the word in the text and pronounce it aloud and define it
  • Use the word in a sentence and ask student’s where they have seen, heard or used the word before
  • Post it on classroom word wall (if it central to the concept/content you are teaching).

Preview – Analyze – Connect

  • Discuss big ideas from the chapter or unit while providing an overview of the text
  • Highlight paragraphs and sections that are important to the teaching objectives – conversely, gloss over portions of little importance
  • Ask questions; explain information; make connections to other content/experiences;
  • Explain how the information will be used

Reciprocal Teaching: helps students focus and monitor their reading. Students take on four critical roles; they predict content, question and clarify their understanding of that content, and summarize what they have learned. The model always includes four fundamental and critical BDA strategies.

  1. Questioning poses questions based on a portion of a text the group has read, either silently or aloud.
  2. Clarifying resolves confusions about words, phrases, or concepts, drawing on the text when possible.
  3. Summarizing sums up the content, identifying the gist of what has been read and discussed.
  4. Predicting suggests what will happen next or be learned from the text

Reciprocal teaching has many variations, usually depending on the size of the group, level of teacher modeling, and assignment of roles. Additionally, think alouds are integral parts of this process because students need opportunities to listen as actual readers struggle with real world texts.

It Says …..I Say strategy helps students not only visualize the steps of making an inference, but also to internalize them. With the It Says….I Say chart students respond to questions by finding support in the text, writing their personal response to that information, and then merging the textual support and their response to write an inference statement. The It Says…..I Say chart is explained below.

Question It SAYS i say
Students answer Then, students Next, in the I Say
questions about record that column, students
the text by first information in record their
finding the It Says thoughts about
comments or column. It Says that information.
information in means what the Here they
the text that book says-what explain what the
addresses the is directly written information in
questions. in the text. the It Says
column means to

and so

Finally, students combine the information from the It Says and I Say columns to create an inference, which they record in the And So column.

extra Space

Read, Rate, and Reread helps students see that their comprehension improves when they reread a passage using this strategy. Students simply read a text and rate their understanding on a scale of 1-10 of what they have read. They jot down questions they have, reread and rate their understanding again. At this point, students review their initial questions to see if they now know the answers or if new questions have arisen. Then, they repeat the reading, rating, and questioning process once more. After their third rating, they discuss with a partner any questions that are still unanswered and rate their understanding one last time.

First Rating

Second Rating

Third Rating

Fourth Rating

  1. Write down any questions you have after the first reading.
  2. Reread the selection a second time and record your rating in the second rating box. Slow down at those parts that gave you problems in the first reading. Cross out any questions you can now answer. Write down any new questions you have after the second reading.
  3. Read the selection a third time and record your rating in the third rating box. Cross out any questions you can now answer. Write down any new questions you have after the third reading.
  4. After the third reading, pair up with another student and see if the two of you can answer any remaining questions. Rate your understanding a fourth and final time(if necessary)
  5. Think about the author’s purpose for writing(to inform, to persuade, to entertain, or to describe)
  6. Write down some sentences from the selection that contain facts and some that express opinions.
  7. Examine the sentences you wrote for item 5 and determine the author’s specific purpose for writing.

Somebody Wanted But So strategy requires students to focus on only the most important aspects of a text, as shown in the chart below. Students will complete a SWBS chart to describe the most significant person (Somebody or character), that person’s desire (Wanted or motivation), an event that prevents or interrupts that desire (But or conflict/complication), and the conclusion (So, or resolution). When linked together these descriptions form a summary statement.

Somebody Wanted But So
Character/Event Motivation: What the Conflict: What kept Resolution: The
character wanted or the character /event ending or outcome;
was trying to from getting what he what eventually
accomplish (his or her or she wanted happened

Classroom Activities

Introductory Activity to Immigration/Migration

  1. Describe the project briefly:

Students will collect stories of their own, their families’, or friends’ immigration or migration to the United States and compare them to immigrant/migrant stories that took place during the Great Migration. The stories will be published in print and on the Internet and will be presented in class to an invited audience.

  1. Ask the class

Why you think we are called a “nation of immigrants?

Write student answers on the board. Discuss ideas about immigration/migration.

  1. If you have an immigration story in your family, relate it to the students, following the questions below. Write the questions and your answers on the board in chart form. (If you don’t have an immigration story, use one of the students’ stories).

Example of teacher’s story in graphic organizer form:

When did family come?


From where?


Why did they leave?

Father was draft dodger

Why did they pick Philadelphia?

Heard there were jobs here

  1. Explain that the students will now seek the same information about their families as part of the larger project. The four questions will be homework and should include as many details as students can discover. If any students state that they have no one to ask in their family, pair them with an African Diaspora student or their oldest neighbor or a person who has recently moved to the area.
  2. Using graphic organizers discuss immigration issues such as: What is the immigration policy of the United States and how has it changed over time?
    1. How many people are being deported? Who are they? How does that compare to the past?
    2. What groups have not been allowed in the country in the past and in the present?
    3. Why have Cubans, Haitians, and Dominicans been treated differently?
    4. What are the pros and cons of immigration?
    5. What should be done about illegal aliens?
    6. How are current immigrants different from immigrants of the past?
    7. How will current immigrant groups change the United States? Why have people been afraid of possible changes in the past and in the present?
    8. What is the forecast for the ethnic composition of the United States?
    9. Should there be more than one language spoken in the United States? How does this compare to other countries in the world?

Lesson I: Wanted: A Historian to Analyze Primary Sources

Gain the Attention of the Learner

Quick write-Respond to the following statement using think-pair-share cooperative learning strategy. If I were immigrating to the United States from an African country and I could only take 5 items to identify where I lived, what I believed in, and what I learn from my family –what 5 items would I choose and Why?

Review Relevant Past Learning

Ask students to define a primary source and define a secondary source. Then inform students that most primary sources fall under one of these headings: published documents (pamphlets, posters, and laws), unpublished documents (letters, diaries, wills, and deeds), Oral histories and visual documents (photographs, films, and paintings)

Communicate the Goal of the Lesson

  • To distinguish between primary and secondary sources
  • Assess the credibility of primary sources

Use a variety of primary sources to clarify, elaborate, and understand a historical period

Present New Concepts, Skills, and Materials

Time and Place Rule

Students will be examine photographs of enslaved Africans in Philadelphia and photographs of Africans who migrated up North during the Great Migration (using the graphic organizers in the appendices’). To judge the quality of a primary source, historians use the time and place rule. This rule says the closer in time and place a source and its creator were to an event in the past, the better the source will be. Based on the time and place rule, better primary sources (starting with the most reliable) might include:

  • Direct traces of the event;
  • Accounts of the event, created at the time it occurred, by firsthand observers and participants;
  • Accounts of the event, created after the event occurred, by firsthand observers and participants;
  • Accounts of the event, created after the event occurred, by people who did not participate or witness the event, but who used interviews or evidence from the time of the event.

Bias Rule

The historians’ second rule is the bias rule. It says that every source is biased in some way. Documents tell us only what the creator of the document thought happened, or perhaps only what the creator wants us to think happened. As a result, historians follow these bias rule guidelines when they review evidence from the past:

  • Every piece of evidence and every source must be read or viewed skeptically and critically.
  • No piece of evidence should be taken at face value. The creator’s point of view must be considered.
  • Each piece of evidence and source must be cross-checked and compared with related sources and pieces of evidence.

Provide Guided Practice

Questions for Analyzing Primary Sources

Select a primary source and guide students through the process of The following questions may help you judge the quality of primary sources:

  1. Who created the source and why? Was it created through a spur-of-the-moment act, a routine transaction, or a thoughtful, deliberate process?
  2. Did the recorder have firsthand knowledge of the event? Or, did the recorder report what others saw and heard?
  3. Was the recorder a neutral party, or did the creator have opinions or interests that might have influenced what was recorded?
  4. Did the recorder produce the source for personal use, for one or more individuals, or for a large audience?
  5. Was the source meant to be public or private?
  6. Did the recorder wish to inform or persuade others? (Check the words in the source. The words may tell you whether the recorder was trying to be objective or persuasive.) Did the recorder have reasons to be honest or dishonest?
  7. Was the information recorded during the event, immediately after the event, or after some lapse of time? How large a lapse of time?

Provide Independent Practice

Students will analyze primary source documents from the Pennsylvania Abolition Society and African Immigrants: In their Own Words (see appendix) to recognize the ethnic and cultural diversity of recent African immigrants using the (Somebody Wanted But So) strategy. Students will also use a timeline to organize information while increasing their understanding of the injustices African-Americans have struggled to overcome.

Close the Lesson

Students will write a reflection essay describing ways to help newcomers to the community feel more at home. Students will conduct research to determine from which countries most new

African immigrants to Philadelphia arrive from. Additionally, a field trip to the African American Museum will be scheduled to learn more about African settlement in Philadelphia.

Lesson 2 Oral History-Voices from the Field

Gain the Attention of the Learner

Stand & Share-Students will listen to an excerpt of an oral history, then they will read an excerpt of the oral history, and finally in a group they will discuss the important ideas in the excerpt and stand up and share an important idea. If someone shares their idea they will be seated to indicate their idea has been presented.

Review Relevant Past Learning

Students will review the elements of an autobiographical narrative written in first person. Anecdotes, everyday experiences, and heirlooms from ‘home’ will form the cornerstone of the data gathered by students as they create interview questions in preparation for their interview with a local immigrant.

Communicate the Goal of the Lesson

  • Students will conduct interviews to gather first-hand stories about immigrant experiences to determine new immigrants’ common experiences.
  • This biographical writing will be conducted with first-or second generation immigrants (preferably teens) to create a written compilation of immigrant life in Philadelphia.

Present New Concepts, Skills, and Materials

These questions are designed to serve as a guide for students to understand the complexity of accurately telling another persons life history. This list can be expanded as needed to include information from their life experiences during their first year in America.

Specific Oral History Questions


  • Who was the first ancestor in your family to immigrate? When?
  • Was there a specific reason why your ancestors immigrated?
  • How and where did they get the money to travel?
  • When your ancestors immigrated, did they do so with other relatives? Who were they?
  • Who received the relatives when they first arrived in this country?
  • Do you know the name of the airport/ship and the port of entry?
  • Do you know if your immigrant ancestors were naturalized? If so, by what court and when?
  • Do you know the names of the cities or towns in the U.S. to which your relatives immigrated?

Life in the New World:

  • What occupations did your immigrant ancestors have when they first arrived?
  • Did they belong to organizations, churches, or other groups?
  • Did they live in other towns or cities in North America?
  • Was there a cousins club or family circle?
  • Were there special family traditions that have been handed down?
  • Were there family recipes?
  • Were any heirlooms brought along with your family?

Oral History Interviews – Documents to ask about

  1. Family personal records, letters, etc.
  2. Family bible
  3. Wills, Deed, etc.
  4. Certificates, Diplomas, Awards, etc.
  5. Photographs
  6. Books of Remembrance
  7. Diaries, Family Genealogies, Family Histories, etc.
  8. Birth, Death, Marriage and Divorce Records
  9. Newspaper clippings
  10. Military Records
  11. Immigration Records
  12. Passports
  13. Cemetery and Funeral Home Records
  14. Court Records

Provide Guided Practice

Divide students into pairs and have them create an interviewee profile based on the country of origin. For example, if a student were going to interview a person from Sierra Leone they would have to research the country before interviewing a Sierra Leonean. Next, students will interview each other while incorporating background information relevant to their interviewees’ homelands. Finally, students will revise their questions in preparation for their actual interview.

Provide Independent Practice

Students will begin their oral history projects and synthesize their data into a first-person narrative. They are required to meet with the teacher twice during the 2 week project for a writer’s workshop session. Peer review sessions will include the following:

What I heard that surprised me was….

One thing that shocked me was……

Something I learned from the oral history was…

One thing I thought was important from the interview was…

From what I heard read, I have a question or would like to know more about…

Close the Lesson

Students share their oral histories and publish them in book form , so the interviewees can hear the oral histories read aloud and have a written record. Family tree maker software will also assist creating a family tree, attaching photos, finding information on the web and merging it into a family tree.

Lesson 3-A Panel discussion on American Immigration

Gain the Attention of the Learner

In groups of four students will consider arguments for or against statements1-4(see appendix). Their ultimate goal is to recommend the policy to their state and federal senators. Assign 2 groups the same statement and have 1 group argue for or against the statement while the other group prepares a rebuttal. The reporter in each group has five minutes to make their case. The group must provide the speaker with clear and logical reasons the United States should accept or reject the proposed policy. Rebuttals are no longer than 2 minutes and should respond to each point made. After each statement has been argued one student (will accept the role of immigrant or advocate against immigration) from each group will form a panel and gather to vote on the best proposed policy and prepare a brief presentation on why this policy is the best.

Review Relevant Past Learning

Students will discuss and dissect key legislation since 1875 and review peak periods of immigration since the colonial era. As historical trends are discussed the focus should be on the impact of immigration policies on Philadelphia and its legacy.

Communicate the Goal of the Lesson

  • Recognize relationships between historical trends and current issues
  • Analyze and evaluate multiple perspectives on an issue
  • Engage in informal debate
  • Reflect upon personal values and priorities regarding immigrants and immigration
  • Cooperative learning with peers

Present New Concepts, Skills, and Materials

Students should be provided with U.S. Immigration Policy and The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. Discussion questions to be answered using Cornell Notes:

  1. Why did United States lawmakers not feel the need to begin restricting immigration until 1875?
  2. Why was the United States a magnet for immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries?
  3. What factors prompted Congress to pass laws restricting immigration?
  4. What are the main concerns in shaping an immigration policy?

Provide Guided Practice

Students will use the It Says…I Say strategy to respond to the above questions. This strategy will enable students to make inferences and synthesize the factors that contributed to these policies.

Provide Independent Practice

Students will combine information acquired from the panel discussion and Cornell Notes to respond in writing to the following questions:

What Should Today’s U.S. Immigration Policy Be?

  1. Over the long run, has immigration been a positive or a negative force in the culture and economy of the U.S.? Why?
  2. What have been the issues of adjustment of new immigrants historically and how has U.S. society and government responded to them?
  3. How does the origin and number of immigrants of that origin effect the impact of that immigration on American society?
  4. How does the origin and number of immigrants of that origin effect the economic success and assimilation of that group?
  5. What differences in today’s economy and/or society most strongly impact the opportunities for immigrants and their impact on the U.S.?

Close the Lesson

Students will synthesize all of their data to write a persuasive essay that addresses the following issues:

  • How many immigrants should the United States continue to admit?
  • Should the United states continue the present policy of a specific quota for each country or should future immigration be unrestricted by nations/race?
  • What criteria should these policy decisions based upon?
  • How should policy decisions be enforced?

Lesson 4- The Middle Passage

Gain the Attention of the Learner

Students should study a map at which details the slave trade. Based on the information in the map students will determine which colony in the Americas imported the most slaves.

Review Relevant Past Learning

Introduce new/old vocabulary term and concepts (migration, forced migration, Middle Passage, chattel, slavers, internal slave trade). Assist students with making connections between these terms and the early forced immigration of Africans to Pennsylvania and Philadelphia.

Communicate the Goal of the Lesson

  • Learn the pattern of forced migration of Africans in the Western Hemisphere between the 16th and 19th centuries
  • Identify the role of Africans and Europeans in the “Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade”
  • Differentiate the cultural groups that arrived in the Americas
  • Estimate number of Africans that left Africa during the forced migration to become enslaved in America

Present New Concepts, Skills, and Materials

Students will read, African-American History, Prentice Hall, Chapter 2, pp.36-63, to answer the following concept chart

Concept Chart

Social Governance Ways of Science and Movement Cultural
Structures Knowing Technology and Memory Meaning
What is/are How did the What kinds What types of How did/do What
the social Africans of systems devices were Africans specific
structures organize did African developed to remember music, art,
in placed themselves people shape nature this dance, and
for the during this develop to and human experience? literature
people period? explain their relationships did
discussed? existence with each other Africans
and how during this create
they use period and how during this
those did it affect period?
systems to Africans/others?

issues of living?

After reading students will answer the following question: How does this new information on the African Passage into the Western Hemisphere change how I think about the African experience?

Provide Guided Practice

Have students read and reread to answer the focus questions:

  1. According to the Schomburg Center what are the three dominant migration patterns of Africans over the past 500 years?
  2. What are the phases of the passage that involve Africans?
  3. How many Africans left Africa during the enslavement? How many people were lost?
  4. Which European colony imported more Africans than any other, laying the foundation for what is today still the largest population of Africans outside Africa?

Provide Independent Practice

Provide students with a blank map of Africa during this time period and ask them to fill in the map with the answers to the focus questions that have been summarized through note taking and discussion.

Close the Lesson

Students will conduct an I-Search which capitalizes on students’ inquiry. Students will research the following questions and present their findings in a five page research paper.

  1. Which African cultures ended up in Philadelphia?
  2. What were the leading industries and trade in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania that required forced African labor?
  3. If you could identify which African group you came from, would you want to know? Why? Why not?

Lesson 5-African Immigrant Communities in Philadelphia

Gain the Attention of the Learner

Students are asked to list ethnic groups in the following Philadelphia communities: Baltimore Avenue, Germantown, West Philadelphia and Southwest Philadelphia.

Review Relevant Past Learning

Students will populate map of Philadelphia (obtained from map quest) and preview, analyze, and connect the following key terms: community, chain migration, association, diasporas, extended family, Immigration Act of 1965, refugee, visa and citizenship

Communicate the Goal of the Lesson

  • Students will learn where Africans immigrants reside in Philadelphia
  • How African immigrants build and maintain their communities
  • Patterns of interacting with other groups of people

Present New Concepts, Skills, and Materials

Students will peruse, Immigrant Philadelphia: from Cobblestone Streets to Korean Soap-Operas, Welcoming Center for new Pennsylvanians, to locate African associations to schedule an interview with directors and some of its members. This informational interview will provide primary sources to answer the above questions. Furthermore, permission to film the interview will be requested to accurately document the various African groups that comprise neighborhoods in West and Southwest Philadelphia.

Provide Guided Practice

Interview questions will focus solely on why African immigrants need to be in an association? What types of community associations do Africans have? What are the benefits of belonging to an association? Are there any drawbacks to belonging to an association? Do associations accept members outside of their tribal affixations?

Provide Independent Practice

Students will create a list of questions to be compiled into a master list for students to use as they interview a minimum of ten associations in the Philadelphia area. This information will be used to publish a pamphlet that the association can use to distribute to members.

Close the Lesson

Students will present the following information to community members via town hall meeting or elementary school children.

  1. Name three areas in which African immigrants live.
  2. Choose one area and elaborate on customs, traditions, etc of two/three groups that reside in the area
  3. Illustrate three aspects of African immigrant communities?
  4. Demonstrate three ways that associations serve the African community.
  5. Elaborate on how this information affected your thoughts of what makes a community and your thoughts on African immigrant communities.

Closing Activity to Immigration/Migration

  1. Tell the class that a guest speaker has volunteered to read them the poem “You Have to Live in Somebody Else’s Country to Understand,” written in 1984 by Noy Chou, a ninth-grade student from a high school in suburban Boston who was born in Cambodia. Have the reader introduce himself or herself in the second language. Expect students to express discomfort, surprise, confusion, etc.
  2. Request that students close their eyes as they listen to the poem to remain free of distractions. Remind them to listen without talking. Invite the guest to read.
  3. After the poem is read, instruct the guest to give students these instructions in the second language: “Please take out a piece of paper and complete this journal assignment in five minutes. Describe a time when you felt like an outsider, or when someone made judged you without knowing you and/or being aware of your circumstances.”
  4. Repeat the instructions in English, indicating that this is for the benefit of those who are non-native speakers of the guest’s second language.
  5. Ask students to describe their reactions during the first reading of the poem. Cluster student responses as they speak. Sample discussion questions include:
  • How did you feel when they did not understand the language?
  • What did you want to do when the reader begin to recite in a language with which you were unfamiliar?
  • Were you able to pick up on any aspect of the poem—cadence, emotion—despite not knowing the language?
  • For those who might have understood the language, how did the poem make you feel?
  • What was your thought about classmates who could not understand the poem? How might you have helped them?
  • How might the teacher and the reader have helped you to understand the poem?
  1. Have students review the clustered responses. Ask them to consider more broadly how the feelings they experienced relate to those of new immigrants. Based on this activity, what are some of the issues immigrants face when they arrive somewhere new? S/he might be feeling like an outsider?

If the guest has remained, students can engage in discussion with him or her about personal immigrant experiences, if the speaker is a foreign-born American.

  1. Hand out copies of the poem in English. Have either the guest or you read it aloud or have students read it. Have students analyze and discuss the poem. Ask them to review it again to select phrases, lines, or passages that strike them. Ask students to write a corresponding personal experience that reflects the essence of the selected sections. Allow five to ten minutes for this activity. Invite students to share their thoughts.
  2. Have students relate their experiences to those of immigrants. Some discussion questions include:
  • What groups and individuals are treated like outsiders in America?
  • What are the possible results or consequences when people feel like outsiders in their surroundings?
  • What did you learn from this experience and the poem that might help you to better understand the feelings of outsiders in the future?
  • How might you act differently toward someone when you recognize that s/he might be feeling like an outsider?

“You Have to Live in Somebody Else’s Country to Understand”

by Noy Chou

What is it like to be an outsider?

What is it like to sit in the class where everyone has blond hair and you have black hair?

What is it like when the teacher says, “Whoever wasn’t born here raise your hand.”

And you are the only one.

Then, when you raise your hand, everybody looks at you and makes fun of you.

You have to live in somebody else’s country to understand.

What is it like when the teacher treats you like you’ve been here all your life?

What is it like when the teacher speaks too fast and you are the only one who can’t understand what he or she is saving, and you try to tell him or her to slow down.

Then when you do, everybody says, “If you don’t understand, go to a lower class or get lost.”

You have to live in somebody else’s country to understand.

What is it like when you are an opposite?

When you wear the clothes of your country and they think you are crazy to wear these clothes and you think they are pretty.

You have to live in somebody else’s country to understand.

What is it like when you are always a loser?

What is it like when somebody bothers you when you do nothing to them? You tell them to stop but they tell you that they didn’t do anything to you.

Then, when they keep doing it until you can’t stand it any longer, you go up to the teacher and tell him or her to tell them to stop bothering you. They say that they didn’t do anything to bother you.

Then the teacher asks the person sitting next to you.

He says, “Yes, she didn’t do anything to her” and you have no witness to turn to.

So the teacher thinks you are a liar.

You have to live in somebody else’s country to understand.

What is it like when you try to talk and you don’t pronounce the words right?

They don’t understand you.

They laugh at you but you don’t know that they are laughing at you, and you start to laugh with them.

They say, “Are you crazy, laughing at yourself? Go get lost, girl.”

You have to live in somebody else’s country without a language to understand.

What is it like when you walk in the street and everybody turns around to look at you and you don’t know that they are looking at you.

Then, when you find out, you want to hide your face but you don’t know where to hide because they are everywhere.

You have to live in somebody else’s country to feel it.

Annotated Bibliography/Resources

Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, (2001), Extended Lives: The African Immigrant Experience in Philadelphia, Educational Guide, Philadelphia, PA

A guide for teachers of Social Studies, African History, Geography, Immigration, or African American Studies

Dixon Chris, (1960), African America and Haiti: Emigration and Black Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century, Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press

A dramatization of the revolt of Haitian slaves and their struggle for freedom and their arrival in America during the mid 19th century.

Gregg Robert, (1993), Sparks from the Anvil of Oppression: Philadelphia’s African Methodists and Southern Migrants, 1890-194, Philadelphia, PA, Temple University Press

An integrated study of ghettoization, northbound migration, and African-American churches which chronicles which religious denominations and which class of African-Americans developed and prospered under these conditions and which religious denominations all but withered away.

Hershberg Theodore, (1979), A Tale of three cities: Blacks and Immigrants in Philadelphia, 1850-1880, 1930 and 1970, Philadelphia, PA, Center for Philadelphia Studies, School of Public and Urban Policy, University of Pennsylvania

A bird’s eye view of the hierarchal systems that relegated African-Americans to particular jobs, housing, and educational status as European immigrants arrived in Philadelphia.

Hine, Hine, Harrold, (2006), African-American History, Prentice Hall, Pearson Education, Saddle River, New Jersey

Student textbook that combines religion, culture, politics & government, society & economy to tell the stories of African-Americans from 300ce to the mid 20th century.

Nash Gary, (2002), First City: Philadelphia and the Forging of Historical Memory, Philadelphia, PA, University of Pennsylvania Press

A historical accounting of Philadelphia’s movers, shakers, and their legacies.

Nash Gary, (1988), Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia’s Black Community, 1720-1840, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press

A detailed accounting of the perilous journey Philadelphia’s African-American community traveled as they sought freedom from slave owners, white churches, and a low socio-economic status.

Shulman Steven, (2004), The Impact of Immigration on African Americans, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Transaction Publishers

A political, economic, and racial perspective on immigration and African-Americans from 1965 to the present.

Taylor Nikki, (2005), Frontiers of Freedom: Cincinnati’s Black Community, 1802-1868, Athens, Ohio, Ohio University Press

Traces the progress of the black community as it struggled to move from being powerless to being powerful.

Trotter William. & Smith Ledell Eric, (1997), African Americans in Pennsylvania: shifting historical perspectives, University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press; Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

An anthology which chronicles African-Americans varying roles in Pennsylvania’s colonial history. The relationship between slaves and slave owners leads readers into the complex relationship between free and enslaved African-Americans in Philadelphia.

Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians, (2004), Immigrant Philadelphia: From Cobblestone Streets to Korean Soap-Opera, Philadelphia, The Historical Society of Pennsylvania

A compilation of businesses, interviews with immigrant leaders, community organizations and profiles of the diverse immigrant communities in Philadelphia.


Family Tree Maker 2008(Essentials Edition) Software Program

African American Family History Resources, (Cd-ROM), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


Learn to Read Independently

Establish a reading vocabulary; understand the meaning of and apply key vocabulary across content areas.

Use knowledge of root words and words fromliterary works to recognize and understand the meaning of new words during reading with the intent of adopting these words into the vocabulary of use.

Identify, describe, evaluate, andsynthesize the essential ideas in text with an increased awareness of the effectiveness of specific reading strategies when learning from a variety of texts.

After reading, demonstrate an understanding and interpretation of both fiction and nonfiction texts (including public documents).

Read Critically in All Content Areas

Read and understand essential content in formationalin texts and documents in all academic areas.

Use and understand a variety of media andevaluate the quality of material produced.

Produce work in at least one literary genrethat follows the conventions of the genre.

Read, Analyze, and Interpret Literature

Read, understand, and respond to works of literature (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama). Analyze the relationships, uses, and effectiveness of literary elements used by one or more authors in similar genres (characterization, setting, plot, theme, point of view, tone, and style).

Analyze the effectiveness, in terms of literary quality, of the author’s use of literary devices (e.g., sound techniques, figurative language, and literary structures).

Analyze and evaluate in poetry the appropriateness of diction and figurative language (e.g., irony, understatement, overstatement, paradox).

Analyze how a scriptwriter’s use of words creates tone and mood, and how choice of words advances the theme or purpose of the work.


Write persuasive pieces that include a clearly stated position or opinion, carefully integrating elaborated and properly cited evidence.

Write complex informational pieces (e.g., research papers, essays comparing media genres, Speeches and literary responses) using primary and secondary sources.


Select and refine a topic for research.

Locate information using appropriate sources and strategies

Organize, summarize, and present the main ideas from research


Research Guide

Directions: Use this form to guide your research about the Great Migration photograph you have chosen. As you complete your research, take notes under each section of this form. Use additional paper for notes, and print out useful information you find. Be as detailed as possible in each category. Your task is to be a detective – investigate every aspect of your photograph in order to create an accurate news article. Use at least two sources for information (I encourage you to use more), and list the citation information on the back of this form.

TIME: When was the photograph taken (month, year, date if known)? What was happening locally and nationally at that time?

PEOPLE: Who is in the picture? Investigate all aspects of the photograph. If no people are in the picture, use this space to research people who were involved in the events that took place in the location/time of your photograph.

EVENT: What happened before this picture was taken? What were the events leading up to this photograph? What event was occurring when this picture was taken?

ANALYSIS: What was the importance of the events and people in your photograph? Where does this photograph fit into the broader events of The Great Migration?

SOURCES: List citation information for each research source here. Consult your research handbook for format.

Source #1:

Source #2:

Source #3:

Source #4:


Analysis Form



Describe what you see in the photograph – the forms and structures, the arrangement of the various elements. Avoid personal feelings or interpretations. Your description should help someone who has not seen the image to visualize it.

Subjective Observation

Describe your personal feelings, associations, and judgments about the image. Always anchor your subjective response in something that is seen. For example, “I see…, and it makes me think of…”


Prior knowledge based on experience, study, assumptions, and intuitions.


What you can conclude.

Questions: What questions does this photograph raise? What else would you need to know?

How to Write a News Article

Task: Write a newspaper article that reports the facts associated with your selected photograph.

Style:  You will be writing in a different style than you are used to in class. Newspaper articles generally contain sentences and paragraphs that are short and direct. Most paragraphs in news articles contain a maximum of three sentences.

Format: Newspaper articles should contain the following items:

  • Headline–An attention getting phrase at the top of the article.
  • Byline – By, your name.
  • Lead Paragraph – Start with a strong, interesting sentence to get the reader engaged. Include who, what, when, where, why, and how as appropriate.
  • Explanation and Amplification–This section will include several brief paragraphs explaining the details surrounding your photograph.
  • Background Information–This section will include several brief paragraphs explaining events leading up to the picture, related national stories, etc.

Bias: Newspaper articles should be written without bias. In other words, you should report the facts objectively – don’t give opinions in your news article.

Works You also need to create a Works Cited list that includes at least two sources. This Cited: must be in correct format.

Self Assessment & Peer Evaluation

Self Assessment

  1. What was the topic of your photograph and news article?
  2. After completing the photo analysis, what were some of the questions you had?
  3. How did you start your research? What resources were most helpful?
  4. Do you think you accurately reported on your photograph in your news article? Why or why not?
  5. What did you learn from completing this project?
  6. What did you most enjoy about the project?
  7. What did you least enjoy about the project?

Peer Evaluation

Read three different articles created by your classmates.

  1. Which news articles did you enjoy reading the most?
  2. What made these articles enjoyable?
  3. What suggestions or questions do you have about other articles? Make sure to include the name of the article(s).

General Questions

  1. What would make the project better in the future? (What would you change about the assignment?)
  2. Are there any other comments you would like to share about the project?

African Immigrants: In Their Own Words

African immigrants to Pennsylvania represent a wide variety of countries, cultures, languages, and religions. Read to learn what some recent immigrants have to say about their experiences.

“As an immigrant in Oman, where I was born you are always just an immigrant you will never be part of society,” no matter how long you stay there, one year, fifteen years, or thirty years. You do not feel that here in the United States. This country belongs to hard working immigrants. business man from Sudan

So we young people try to keep the culture, but we also know that there is a lot of culture and traditions that we don’t agree with. So you would like to keep some things like family values and the respect we have for each other, and the closeness we have. “Things like that we try to teach.” young woman from Eritrea

What I miss most about Guinea is the extended family structure. When I am at home, I feel safe. My children are safe, my wife is safe. Whether I am there or not, they will be taken care of. ‘In America, I don’t have that.” immigrant from Guinea

One thing that is unique about Africans is that the extended family system is very important. “If you make a thousand dollars this month, you try to send five hundred dollars back home.” immigrant from Nigeria

“They know that I have good training and good experiences in order to be at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. But still I can say that about five percent of the patients I get, I sense the discomfort with the fact that I am foreign. And they ask for my credentials, “where did you train?” doctor from Ghana

“I do not think I can be an old person in this country. I like the reverence that the youth have for the elderly back at home and the way the community just kind of embraces you. You continue with life in a more gentle fashion as opposed to worrying about medical care, if you have heat, and the cost of living.” immigrant from Kenya

Recording Form for Use during Panel Discussions (Lesson #3)

Statement 1 — Opening Ourselves to the World

The last few years have brought an end to the atmosphere of fear and mistrust that gripped the world for much of this century. The Cold War is over, barriers to international understanding have fallen, and a new era of global interaction is dawning. In the world that is emerging, borders will have less significance. Americans can take pride in a heritage that springs from a set of principles promoting openness, tolerance, and diversity. Immigration puts our country in touch with the preferences and tastes of consumers worldwide, and gives U.S. companies an edge in opening export markets. Keeping our doors open lets the world know that the United States remains a country that looks forward to tomorrow.

Arguments For                                               Arguments Against


Statement 2 — Balancing Our Responsibilities

The United States and the world are facing both serious problems and unprecedented opportunities. In this challenging atmosphere, the United States continues to be an international leader. To remain responsible citizens of the world, however, we must restore the health of our own society. Only then will we be able to effectively join other wealthy, developed countries in addressing the problems that plague much of the poor, developing world, such as environmental pollution, unsanitary living conditions, and the spread of AIDS. Opening our doors to massive immigration resolves no one’s problems. The money we spend on settling immigrants should be directed inward toward our own disadvantaged citizens and outward in the form of foreign aid programs that promote responsible, long-term development in Mexico, the Caribbean, and other poor areas.

Arguments For                                               Arguments Against


Statement 3 — Competing in a Competitive World

Economic competition among nations in the 21st century is set to reach new levels of intensity. We are still a growing country, with enormous resources and human potential, but we have let our competitive edge slip away in the past few decades. Our country requires an immigration policy that fits our overall economic needs. A two-pronged approach makes the most sense. To spur American high-tech industries forward, our doors should be open to scientists and engineers from abroad. To help American factories, farms, and service industries hold down costs, we should allow a limited number of foreigners to work temporarily in low-wage jobs.

Arguments For                                           Arguments Against


Statement 4 — Recognizing Our Limits

The world is changing at a breakneck pace. The population explosion in poor countries, the spread of war and chaos, and the age-old curses of hunger and disease plague an ever-growing portion of humanity. We must recognize that Americans can do little to end the misery that haunts much of the world. Simply maintaining our way of life amounts to a major challenge. Although the United States is a nation of immigrants, the arguments supporting massive immigration have long since passed into history. Now it is time to say “enough.” We should drastically reduce the number of immigrants we accept and commit the resources necessary to take control of our borders.

Arguments For                                      Arguments Against