Italian Immigrants

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“Bruno should quit shooting the birds. You know those Italians killed all the songbirds in Italy, came over to this country, and now, they want to kill every songbird here,” scorned Mrs. Orpha O’Donahue. (Anderson 46) Seeking a better life in America, Italian immigrants were confronted with unexpected racial profiling and discrimination as they migrated to America in search of a better life. They were deemed as a threat to the American way for the culture they lived, the language they spoke and the employment they sought. Some Americans went as far as to believe that Italian immigrants were a threat to national security. Arriving in the land of the free and home of the brave, Italian immigrants faced prejudice, rejection and exploitation from…show more content…
Life in Italy was becoming unbearable, poverty, starvation and over taxation was taking its toll on the peasants of southern region. Desperate for the well being of their children, families were sending their sons to America to find a better life in America where they believed the streets were paved with gold. Italian families held onto the dream that their sons would find gainful employment in the land of opportunity and in turn would send money back to their desperate families in Italy. Adam Chao points out that in 1850 there were a mere 4,000 Italians living in America, but by 1880 the Italian population skyrocketed to a staggering 44,000; it only continued to increase, in 1900 the population was at 484,027, the majority of those Italians came from the southern region…show more content…
During the time of the Italian migration, Irish immigrants had established themselves as an unskilled work force in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Boston. Desperate for employment, the Irishmen worked long hours for low wages in harsh conditions. Equally desperate for work, the Italian immigrants were willing to work under the same harsh conditions and for less pay. Competition for jobs and resentment grew between the Italians and Irish that often led to violent outbreaks between the two groups. According to historian, Howard Zinn, the Italian immigrants took jobs in whatever field they could find; such as ditch diggers, stonecutters and day laborers. Zinn tells the story of an Italian worker who was picked up by a railroad company in Connecticut but instead was forced to work in the sulfate mines without pay. The Italian (slave) worker attempted to escape but was caught by the guards and was told to “work or die”. (Zinn
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