Louis J. Broccolo
Connection with the Curriculum
Materials for Each Student
• A copy of the narrative portion of the article
Objectives for Each Student
• Explore the history of Italian immigrants and their descendants in Chicago
that of his or her ethnic group as a whole, as it applies to the Chicago area, and then into the larger pattern of American history
The article and activities should be used with materials on other ethnic and racial groups so that students can understand the things that all the different groups have in common — that is probably more important than any differences. It will also help to better motivate for the majority of students, since most of them in any particular class are probably not of Italian ancestry.
The activities range from easy to more difficult, and can be adapted by the teacher to fit different ability levels.
Opening the Lesson
The first and second handouts have the students using factual material from the article to locate the origins of Chicago's Italians and where they are located in the Chicago area.
Show the movie "The Immigrant Experience: The Long, Long Journey" (Learning Coproration Of America, $59.00. Contact Social Studies School Service,10200 Jefferson Blvd., P. 0. Box 802, Culver City, CA 90232-0802, Phone: 1-800-421-4226). It is a wonderful thirty-minute movie about a Polish immigrant family in the early-twentieth century, and it can be used to show how the immigrant experience was very similar among many groups. Parts of "The Godfather - Part II" can be used, but edit carefully. The scenes showing Vito Corleone coming to Ellis Island as a boy and those showing the feste in New York's Little Italy are particularly good. Be sure to show only those parts.
After the film the students can complete and then discuss Activities 3 and 4 with general questions on immigration and specific ones concerning the movie. They will need to have read some sources on immigration, possibly from their textbooks.
Activity 5 asks for more specific information from the article, while Activity 6 also asks the students to draw some conclusions; this should lead to some interesting discussions.
Activity 7 is the culminating activity where the students as historians get to put what they have learned to use and pull it all together as they complete a family history.
Developing the Lesson
• Allow students either class time or homework time to complete activities.
Concluding the Lesson
• Have the students write one or two paragraphs describing what they learned from all of this, particularly the family history project.
Extending the Lesson
• Students could make displays using photographs, documents, etc. to show some of their family history. Explain to them how to protect any original and/or valuable "things" they might use.
Assessing the Lesson
• Discuss with the students how history is made, no matter how big the topic or issue, by individual people just like themselves. They should have a better understanding of that after seeing how their own families and ethnic groups contributed to the history of Chicago and Illinois, and in turn to the history of the United States. To paraphrase one the characters in the recent film, "Amistad", "We are what we were."
The article mentions a number of cities and/or regions in Italy as the origins of many of Chicago's Italians. Locate and label the cities listed. Color the region as directed.
The article lists a number of areas in Chicago and the suburbs where Italians settled or live now. Label the area or suburb (using the numbers) and then shade it in lightly with a pen or pencil.
Match the Italian church to the area or suburb (using the numbers).
View the movie "The Immigrant Experience: The Long, Long Journey" with the class.
Match the person on the left with the description on the right.
Another book of interest here is Lisi Cipriani, Selected Directory of the Italians in Chicago (Chicago, 1929). Although it is harder to get (the Newberry Library has a copy), it is a fascinating short market guide listing 4,500 firms, stores, and professional men.
Now it is your chance to be the historian. Hopefully, this project will make the study of immigration more exciting and meaningful. As you gain a greater understanding of your own family's history and how that history has shaped and influenced you, you will also develop a greater appreciation for history in general. The project will also give you the opportunity to use a wide variety of sources, both primary and secondary. You will actually be the historian.
Since this is part of your study on immigration, you should have background material from your class discussions, readings, etc. However, there are some key questions you need to ask before you begin.
What do I already know about my family history?Specifics of this assignment:
• Make a chart showing your family genealogy. Include name, birth date, place of birth, when married, date of death, place of death. Go as far back in time as you can.
• Complete the questionnaire with one or more relatives.
• Complete general reading on your ethnic group in Chicago.
• Write a five-page typed paper describing your family's history or some aspect of it. For example, compare and contrast your great-grandfather, grandfather, and father with respect to education, occupation, etc. Compare and contrast your mother's family with your father's family. Why did they come to America? Through out the paper you should compare and contrast your family with your ethnic group in Chicago (or the Chicago area). Does your family fit in with the general trends of your particular ethnic group? Integrate the general history of your ethnic group with your family history. Analyze what is going on; put things in perspective.
This assignment is not a family genealogy. Although a family genealogy can be part of this, it is no? the main focus. Do not dwell on who married whom, for example. Certainly, we do want details, facts. However, we want to learn something of the lifestyle of your family: where they lived; what they did for a living; changes in residences.
Sources to investigate:
• Photo albums; family Bibles; letters; birth, baptismal, marriage, and death certificates; passports; immigration and naturalization papers; old bills; check stubs; wills; and court records. .
• Oral interviews are another outstanding source, but be careful!
The final paper must include a bibliography of at least five sources. Oral interviews may be used along with other more standard works. Encyclopedias are not to be included. Good luck!
Two excellent books will help aid in your research on ethnic groups: Irving Cutler, Chicago: Metropolis of the Mid-Continent (3rd ed., Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1982) and Melvin G. Holli and Peter d'A Jones, Ethnic Chicago (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984 and later editions.). The bibliographies in these books are wonderful.
Name___________________________________ Date of Birth ___________________________________
From what country did they come? _______________________________________________________
Town and Region:___________________Urban or rural area?_____________________________________
Population of town?_____________How old were they? ________________________________________
Who did they come with? (Parents, etc.) _____________________________________________________
Who migrated?_____________ What year? _______________________________________
Port of departure from Europe _______________________________________________________________
Port of arrival in U.S._______________________________ Name of Ship _____________________________
Why did they come to America? ______________________________________________________________
What was their attitude? ____________________________________________________________________
What problems, etc., caused them to leave Europe? ______________________________________________
What did they expect to find? _________________________________________________________________
What was their "dream"?_____________________________________________________________________
Did they intend to stay permanently or were they planning to go back?_______________________________
Did they go back?___________________When?________________________________________________
Why did they return the second time?________________________________________________
Why did they come to Chicago (as opposed to staying out East?)______________________________
Did they know anyone here in advance? Who? _______________________________________________
Where in Chicago did they live? ________________________________________________
Did they change residences once they settled in Chicago? __________________________________
To what parish did they belong? ________________________________________________
What was their attitude toward religion and the church? ___________________________________
Did they choose to live with other people from their same village or region? ____________________
What was their occupation in Europe? ________________________________________________
How were they trained for their occupation in both countries? ________________________________
What education did they have in Europe?______________________________________________
in U.S.? ________________________________________________
How did they meet their spouse? ________________________________________________
Was marriage arranged?_________ Did they know spouse before they came to America?_________________
When did spouse arrive?_________ How old when they married?__________________________________
Information on his/her spouse, family, etc.
Name of Spouse_____________________________Date of Birth ______________________
Town and Region ________________________________________________
Year they or family came to America ________________________________________________
Additional Information ________________________________________________
What was their attitude toward other ethnic groups they encountered in America?
What was their feeling toward their children (second generation) marrying out of their ethnic group? _________
Did they speak English before coming to U.S.? What language was spoken as the principal language inthe home? _______________________________________________________________________
Did both parents speak English?_____________________ If not, why not? _______________________
Could children (second generation) speak the native language?___________________________________
Could the parents write their native language?____________________
Could they write English after learning to speak it? ______________________
Where were the children (second generation) sent to school? _________________________________________
What was the attitude of the parent toward education? ________________________________________________
How did they acquire property (land, residences, etc.)?________________________________________________
Briefly describe their attitude toward their native country.
Were they patriotic toward their native country? ________________________________________________
Did they consider themselves Europeans or Americans?________________________________________________
When did this transition take place?________________________________________________
When did they become citizens? ________________________________________________
Did they usually vote? ________________________________________________
Did they eventually feel that their dreams had come true? ________________________________________________
Did they believe they were truly better off in America compared to Europe? Why?_________________________
How did their attitudes change forty years after they came here? __________________________________________
Add any additional information you feel may be helpful. ________________________________________________
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