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).  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. 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
Authored By Christopher K. Elford
Telegram written by Christian Leaders asking Father James Martin Gillis to join them in calling for a boycott of the 1936 Summer Olympic Games
The telegram pictured was written by five prominent Christian leaders to Father James Martin Gillis in October, 1935. In it Gillis is asked to join his name to the statement written by the authors. The telegram belongs to the Paulist Fathers archives and serves to show the Christian perspective on what is traditionally thought as an exclusively Jewish subject. Continue reading
Authored by Stephen Young
A telegram written by George G. Battle and Henry S. Leiper to
Reverend James M. Gillis
This telegram was written by George G. Battle who formed the
Committee on Fair Play in Sports to boycott participation of American
teams and athletes to compete in the 1936 Olympics hosted in
Berlin, Germany by the Nazi regime. This letter was addressed to
Reverend James M. Gillis on October 1st, 1935.
Authored by Kelly Povero
Telegram from Frank Harper to John J. Burke on behalf of Theodore Roosevelt
This two-part telegram pictured left was written to Father John J. Burke of the Catholic World newspaper from Secretary to the President of the United States Frank Harper, and from President Theodore Roosevelt on August 12th and 13th, 1912.