Immigration is one of the most pressing public policy issues today. Who should a country welcome with open arms? Whom should it keep out? How should immigrants attempt to assimilate to their new environments? What cultural practices should they retain? How do immigrants obtain work, support their families, access education, and learn new languages? What value do immigrants add to our communities? These questions resonate not only today, but apply to the massive wave of immigration that occurred 100 years ago.
This project, created by students and faculty at West Chester University, in partnership with the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries and the Free Library of Philadelphia draws on oral history interviews and other archival materials to explore these and other questions, interpreting the experiences of immigrants to Philadelphia, from today and throughout the past century.