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Lecture 20

American Studies 2200E Lecture 20: American Studies Lecture 20
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Department
American Studies
Course Code
American Studies 2200E
Professor
Anna Zuschlag

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American Studies Lecture 20 March 16, 2017 Latin Americans Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” - Written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 - Poem appears on a plaque on the Statue of Liberty - Wrote the poem as part of a fundraiser during construction of the statue - The plaque did not make it onto the state until 28 years after her death - In 1945 the entire poem was engraved and placed over the pedestals main entrance - Emma Lazarus of Jewish heritage and born into privilege (A young lady of high society) - Her family encouraged her to become a poet - First published at age 16, Ralph Waldo Emerson was her mentor - Refers to the Colossus of Rhodes (Statue of the God Apollo) - Considered as one of the wonders of the ancient world (Symbolized freedom) - Her poem cited as part of the American creed and virtue of being a nation of diverse peoples and cultures Operation Wetback (1954) - Background: - Mass deportations had taken place in the 1930s and 1940s as well - During the height of the Depression Americans believed that Mexican migrants were taking their jobs - Mexican were being pushed out by Americans looking for work - During World War II the United States needed their agricultural labor back (Mexicans) - The Migrant Labor Agreement 1942 (Bracero Program): - Allowed nearly 5 million Mexicans to cross the border (Legally vetted) - Had fixed contracts, called ‘guest workers’ - Corporate Farms turn the program into a funnel of undocumented labor - Smaller farmers also use undocumented workers to compete with corporate farms - Post-War Years (Post WWII): - Thousands of veterans returning to no jobs - Churches and labor unions raising the alarm over the treatment of undocumented Mexican workers (Close to slave labor) - People also said that Communists were coming over the border Operation Wetback 2 (1954-1955) - Immigration and Naturalization Service - Operation Wetback as a solution to the post-war problems - Rounded up migrants in California, Texas and the Midwest - Coordinated at the State and local level - Had a huge impact on Mexican American neighborhoods, families and workers - Legal Mexican-Americans were being deported - Created racial tensions across the Southern border - A humanitarian and refugee crisis as a result - Labeled Mexicans as a threat to Americans - Many rounded up and sent back on ships (Similar to slave ships) - Left people out in the desert without food, shelter, and water (Many died) - Hundreds of thousands left in border towns with
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