Immigration and the Making of Saint Paul

Explore the role of immigrants in the making and remaking of Saint Paul. We will cover the 1840's through current times touching first on: Irish and German immigrants and their impact on the foundations of our city; the Scandinavian influx of the 19th century; and, Eastern European immigrants who filled the demand for unskilled labor in meat-packing plants, foundries and railroad work.  We will then look at how the city's workforce, neighborhoods and political and cultural life was shaped by Mexicans, many of whom were already American citizens from Texas, and African Americans who had migrated from the South beginning in the 1850's. We will also cover the tens of thousands of new immigrants arriving in the early 21st century from Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Somalia and Burma, among other places and finish with an overview of public policy and a review of immigration reform through the lens of history to generate a discussion about what the past has to offer anyone who seeks to shape the future. 

Classes will rely on lecture, documents, maps, photographs and even poetry and fiction to explore immigrant experiences and the impact they had.

Peter Rachleff

Peter Rachleff taught American Labor, Immigration and African American History at Macalester College for over 30 years. He has retired from college instruction and is now leading a new project, the East Side Freedom Library, which is transforming the historic Carnegie library formerly know as Arlington Hills Library into a labor and immigration history center.

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4705WEA

  Peter Rachleff


East Side Freedom Library
Wednesdays, Mar 4 - Apr 8
6:00 - 8:00 PM

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Min Age   16 yr.

Price: $ 57 00