American Studies
American Studies

A Symposium on the Galveston Movement

Fri, September 11, 2009 | Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

From Benjamin Franklin’s tirades against German immigrants in the mid-18th century, to the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 19th, our nation has demonstrated a consistent history of tension over whom we collectively regard as “real Americans” and whom we will allow into this country. At the dawn of the 20th century, Eastern European Jews were the target of the latest xenophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment, as reflected in increased detentions and deportations at our nation’s immigrant gateways.

This symposium brings together scholars, fiction writers, public health experts, filmmakers and family storytellers to explore the dramatic tales of thousands of Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe who managed to enter this country not through the “golden door” of Ellis Island, but through the southern gateway of Galveston, Texas between 1907 and 1914. During this seven year period, over 10,000 Jews were brought to this nation through Galveston as part of an organized plan—known as The Galveston Movement-- to divert them from the overcrowded and xenophobic port cities of the East, to the supposedly more laid-back frontier of America’s heartland. From their recruitment in Eastern Europe to their settlement in Texas and throughout the Midwest, these Jewish immigrants were aided and supervised by a network of agents and representatives who organized their passage, facilitated their inspections, and coordinated their journeys to find homes and jobs in Texas and the American Midwest.  This decade marks the 100th anniversary of this Movement and offers us an important historical lens through which to examine the important questions that again face our nation at the turn of the twenty first century: Who can be an American?”  and “Who gets to decide? “

To register for the event at call 936-4649

You can also go to any of the sessions at no cost. just show your UT id if asked.

Please see the symposium website for specific panels and schedule.

Sponsored by: The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies

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