Fayetteville Public Library has received a $1,300 award to host a six-week program series funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities entitled “Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on Our Immigration Experience.” The series is a public program featuring documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions designed to engage and enlighten audiences on immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history. The films represent a selection of diverse immigration experiences drawn from both the past and the present.

Events will be held on Thursdays beginning September 6 through October 11 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the library’s Walker Community Room. The series is free and open to the public.

Series topics include:

  • Thursday, September 6“The Century of Immigration: 1820-1934” chronicles the period when 40 million immigrants entered the U.S., making immigration a major and defining aspect of American life.
  • Thursday, September 13“Promise and Prejudice” explores the tension – historic and current – between Americans’ acceptance of immigrants, including the celebration of their own immigrant heritage, versus the periodic backlash prompted by concern about the economic and cultural effects of newcomers.
  • Thursday, September 20“Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturation” looks at how immigrants react and adjust to living in a new country and culture, and how they bridge the divide between the traditions and values of their native countries.
  • Thursday, September 27“Help Wanted? Immigration and Work” looks at the economic side of immigration, chronicling the essential part immigrant labor has played in building America, as well as the conflicted relationship American workers have had with immigrants.
  • Thursday, October 4“Family and Community” explores how family ties and community institutions have played an essential role in successful migration and adaptation to American life.
  • Thursday, October 11“Immigration and Popular Culture” examines the ways the media and popular culture have historically taught newcomers how to “be American,” and how the rich contributions of different immigrant groups have transformed American culture and art.

Fayetteville Public Library is one of thirty-two sites nationwide selected to host this program series which is a project by City Lore in collaboration with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. “Becoming American” has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.