The School Of Americas


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the school of americas Indians Immigrating to America




Their struggle as immigrant minority and major contributions to the American society
Asian Indians come from an area with the second largest population in the world, but form only one of the smallest minorities in the United States.  America was influenced by their religious and political beliefs long before the first immigrants arrived in the 19th century.  The congressional act of 1947 granted them citizenship.  Now, Asian Indians hold many important occupations (students, teachers, writers, musicians, scientists).  Their most important contributions are geared toward engineering and the sciences.  
India was in a great shape up until the end of 19th century.  When British arrived, the country was depleted of its wealth and resources.  The poor had no choice but to come to the United States (The Land of the Free and the Land of Opportunity).  The United States, due to the abundance of jobs and scarcity of labor, became a “Mecca” for immigrants from all over the world.  The United States, in the nineteenth century, remained a strong magnet to immigrants, with offers of jobs and land for farms.   Asians and Italians came for work, Russians came to escape persecution, and Jews came for religious freedom.  Immigrants from all over the world including Europe, China, and Japan wanted to experience the freedom of improving your life and being able to take care for one’s family.  
East Indians represented a big group that wanted to take part in American culture.  The large majorities from India were Punjabis, from a region called the Punjab.  Most of
these immigrants were young men, between 16 and 35 years old.   They left their families in India, and came here in small groups of cousins and village neighbors.  Thus, the family and community ties remained very strong.  They had several reasons to come to America.  They were repressed by the British rule and had no land to farm on.  To make matters worse, famine devastated India from 1899 to 1902.  Thus, large-scale immigration began in 1906, when six hundred Asians applied to enter the United States.   They came here in hopes of changing their lives around.  Unfortunately, they soon found out that life in America was very challenging.  Many Indians were farmers back in India, but when they came to the United States they had to take jobs no one else would.   They also encountered prejudice.  Whites sometimes associated the Asian Indian immigrants with blacks, Chinese, or Japanese.   Very often, Asian Indians were blamed for the violence directed towards them.  Whites did not want or try to understand Indian culture and traditions.  The Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore (a winner of the Noble Prize in literature) traveled to North America.  When he applied for entry to the United States, Tagore encountered difficulties and when he finally made it to the country, he experienced racial prejudice in Los Angeles.  He cancelled his tour and returned to India, saying in disgust, “Jesus could not get into America because, first of all, he would not have the necessary money, and secondly, He would be an Asiatic.”   Despite of everything they encountered, the immigrants still believed that the life they left behind was much worse than thy life they faced in America.  
Another major problem Asian Indians faced came from the white population.  Many people felt threatened by the increasing multi-cultural population.  Many Indians had limited opportunities to advance their careers due to prejudice.  Frustrated because of their current situation, they opened their own businesses, which gave them a lot more freedom and control of their own lives.  Furthermore, whites taunted the Indians because of the color of their skin and wearing of traditional turbans. They were called by insulting names such as “rag-heads” and treated as inferior beings.   A California Sikh who came from India at that time said, “I used to go to Maryville every Saturday.  One day a drunken white man came out of a bar and motioned to me saying, ‘Come here, slave!’ I said I was no slave man.  He told me that his race ruled India and America, too.”
Assimilation has always been an important part of American life.  Furthermore, American immigrants found out that assimilation is not a one step process.  They were ... more

the school of americas

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Key West




                                                                 Key West
Key West is many people's paradise.  It has dazzling waters, beautiful beaches, and
a wonderful climate.  This tiny island is located off the southernmost part of Florida is the
only true tropical island in the United States.  Thousands of people from all over the world
come to Key West every year for the relaxing lifestyle and rich culture.  As well as being
rich in culture it is rich in history too.  Key West has also been the home to many great
authors and artists and is known for having a very diverse population.  
Initially, Key West was a home for Spanish explorers and pirates until the first
settlement was established in 1822.  In 1822 the U.S. Navy sent Commodore David Porter
to the island.  He was sent to take over the island and to eventually stop piracy.  He did
succeed and in 1825, Congress put forth a law that required that all ship wrecks where
salvaged goods were taken must be brought to a U.S. port for arbitration.  That U.S. port
turned out to be Key West.  It then became the wealthiest city in the U.S. (Murphy 3).
Industry arrived in Key West by 1831.  Industries such as, cigar-making,
ship-fitting, salt manufacturing, and turtling employed many people.  Soon after that the
local residents discovered that their sea sponges were highly valued in the North and that
spun another booming industry for the people of Key West (3).  By 1850, this tiny island
was populated and had schools, hospitals, and churches and was thriving on its success
Key West soon played a part in the Civil War and became known as the cigar
capitol of the world.  During the Civil War the Confederacy set up two forts that would
serve as headquarters for naval blockade, Jefferson and Taylor.  Key West was the only
Union-held city south of the Masion-Dixon Line and as many as 299 ships would be
anchored at Key West at one time.  Then after the war, the industries success decreased,
but the immigration of Cubans to Key West increased.  The cigar industry soon grew to
phenomenal heights and the island became a refuge for Cuban revolutionaries (Gifford 9).
The more successful Key West was the more populated it became and soon the
city we now know as Miami spun off of Key West.  In 1871, the arrival of the Cuban San
Carlos Institute and Opera House made Key West a rich and diverse city. The island did
suffer from a fire that destroyed fifty acres of downtown property in 1886, but by then
there was a steamship service and that made reconstruction of the city quick and easy (4).
     Soon the good luck of Key West was about to run out.  A hurricane arrived
and was so destructive that it forced the cigar industry to the Tampa area.  Then, their
second main industry, that was the sponge beds, was destroyed by a blight.  The only (5)
                                                                                                                                      2.
thing they had left was the tourist industry and the Florida land boom collapsed in the
1920's, so the only tourists they had were people passing through to Cuba.  During The
Great Depression the island's problems escalated.  In 1934, the people were considering
abandoning the island because up to 80% of the population was on relief.  Then a major
setback occurred.  The biggest hurricane to hit Key West happened on Labor Day 1935.
The hurricane packed winds up to 200 miles an hour and killed hundreds of people.  Key
West had suddenly become the poorest city in the U.S.(Murphy 5).
The only recourse  Key West had left was tourism and at that time the public didn't
seem interested in Key West.  Since that was the only industry that could be successful
something had to be done.  Julius Stone, director of the Florida FERA, led a nation wide
campaign proclaiming that Key West was Americas new tropical paradise and it
The tourism industry built up soon after that and Key West was successful again.
Still today, tourism remains Key West's largest industry.  It is home to the only living coral
reef in North America and it takes pride in managing and protecting that vital resources
(Murphy 6).  Key West gets an average of about 1.5 million visitors every year.  These
visitors flock to Key West for the delicious restaurants, local festivals, and friendly
Key West is known for its diverse culture and eclectic people.  The local
population is a medley of different people such ... more

the school of americas

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