Whether we like it, or whether we do not, this country — this United States of America — is synonymous with Immigrants. We are a nation of Immigration. Check my family background, for one. It is a great example. All of my ancestors, on both my Mom’s side, and my Dad’s, came here via big boats from Germany. All between the years of 1815 and 1840. Each one of them tugging on the apron strings of Miss Liberty herself. I have the German Flag stamped on my proverbial butt, to prove it.
Most of you are not any different. I do not think I know anyone who is 100% Native American. Not to my knowledge.
Yes, this coming from far away places has been happening since white man set foot here. Take the Mayflower. Another boat, from England. There’s no American Blood involved in that. All the Indians who were lined up on the shore watching could attest. Not a single Englishman was born on this soil. Shipped in like the rest of us.
I just read an interesting story about an Irish segment of this American Heritage. It was about John Kehoe. He was executed on December 18, 1878, in Pennsylvania. Apparently, Kehoe was the last of the Molly Maguires. The Molly Maguires were an Irish secret society. And, allegedly, they had been responsible for some “acts” of vigilante justice. All of this happened in the coalfields of eastern Pennsylvania. The Irish-American workers were being exploited in the coalfields, you see. And the Molly’s took steps, and measures, to protect them. In fact, they are often regarded as one of the first organized labor groups.
It all started during the first five years of the Irish potato blight in Ireland. No food there. No work. No way to survive. So. People needed to find new lives, and many of them headed for America. All of that began in 1845, when 500,000 immigrants came to the United States from Ireland. Yessirreee. That was nearly half of all immigrants to the U.S. during those years. And the newly-arrived-Irish-people needed work. So off they went to mine coal. And the rich white men began to exploit the poor.
Does any of this sound familiar? Immigrants, doing the very cheap work that no “respectable” American would lower himself to? And the rich white guys who had been here a while? Getting all the richer? Ringing any bells?
At any rate, there were a couple of murders which were blamed on the Molly’s. And the authorities started rounding them up, and hanging them. In June 1877, 10 Molly Maguires were hanged on a single day. So then, in December of the following year, Kehoe was arrested and hanged.
Kehoe was charged for the 1862 murder of Frank W.S. Langdon, a mine foreman. But as with most stories of this nature, they probably hung the wrong guy. It was widely believed Kehoe was wrongly accused and not actually responsible for anyone’s death. Although the governor of Pennsylvania believed Kehoe’s innocence, he signed the death warrant anyway. Kehoe’s hanging at the gallows was officially hailed as “the Death of Molly-ism.”
Another story, in our Immigration History.
You know, I am just a woman, who was luckily born and raised in Ohio. I don’t have the political expertise to know the hard, fast answers to immigration control.
But I do know people here who are immigrants. I have seen how hard they work, I know how proud they are of their families, and how much it means to them, to be “safe” here in America, where they have a chance of feeding & clothing themselves, and their babies. They are not criminals. In fact, they work like dogs to make this place better. This America. This land of the free. This place which proudly displays its welcome, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
And I just can’t see the harm in that.
“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t letting go but rather learning to start over.”
― Nicole Sobon, Program 13
“There comes a time in your life when you have to choose to turn the page, write another book or simply close it.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.”
― Bob Marley