President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act

President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act

Authored by: Ariana Kaleta

President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act June 11, 1963,                     Abby Rowe/White House
“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we  can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience.”
John F Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants

Here we see a relaxed President Kennedy, laughing during a break at a press conference but what he was discussing were serious matters for the future face of America.  The President was compelled to write “A Nation of Immigrants” after repeatedly hearing the stories of immigrant’s rights groups, such as at this meeting with the American Committee on Italian Migration.

When Kennedy first came into office, Henry Cabot Lodge’s Immigration Act of 1924 had been diligently enforced under the firm hand of the Immigration Restriction League (a prominent lobbying group founded in 1884). [1]  For four decades, the Immigration Act of 1924 used quotas to prohibit all ‘non-nativist’ nationalities, in particular Jewish, Irish and Italians fleeing Europe. However, it also had punitive effects on the almost historically unrecognized Arabic and Asian immigrants.[2]  As the threat of communism and post war depression flooded across Europe and Asia, waves of immigrants risked their lives to journey to America, only to be turned away at Ellis Island, due to these racist and religious discriminatory laws. Continue reading

The Tricentennial of the Bellmores, Long Island, New York, 1976

Authored by Sara Alcorn

Car Bumper Sticker from the Bellmore Historical Society celebrating the Tricentennial of the Bellmores, New York, 1976.

Car Bumper Sticker from the Bellmore Historical Society celebrating the Tricentennial of the Bellmores, New York, 1976.

As the United Sates of America was welcoming their bicentennial independence, a small town on Long Island was gearing up to celebrate the three hundredth birthday of their community with pride and public service.

 

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“Modern Community” in 1950

Authored by Kevin Quinn

Page 1 of the Modern Community syllabus at Farmingdale State College, circa 1948.

Farmingdale State College “Modern Community syllabus,” page 1, circa 1948.

“Modern Community in 1950”

As part of an Academic Service-Learning project, I was tasked with cataloging textbooks and notebooks donated by an alumnus of the 1950 class at Farmingdale State College. The donor of the material was Mr. Benjamin P. Vecchio, a graduate of the Building Construction (BC) program at LIATI. At LIATI, students were either part of the Agricultural College, or the Technical College. As a student in BC, Mr. Vecchio was a part of the Technical College that, according to a campus map[1], made its home on Conklin Street in Farmingdale, NY, away from the Main Campus.  The history of the Technical Campus is interesting because the ‘Central Hall’ building used to be known as the Nazareth Trade School, a home for Orphans between 1900 and 1940.[2] “It was held at the old tech area which was on Conklin Street. All the classes were there, none of them were here, except sports, sports were here, but the rest were over there.”[3] Continue reading