In the late 1800s and at the beginning of the 1900s started great migrations from Europe to America. Most Italians who came to America were from the poorer parts of Sicily, Campania, Calabria and Abruzzo. Americans back then saw Italians as not so good fit to their democratic society; they were given the worst jobs. Working in mines, shoveling all day, they were seen as unskilled laborers. Also, a lot of people back then believed that Italians were violent people. Nearly half of Italians who came to U.S. returned to its original state. The other half who stayed here, fought their way to the top, creating communities and unique lifestyle here.
How was Italian American Identity established
In 1924 the Immigration Act nearly slashed Italians who were living in America. The annual quota was reduced from 42,000 to 4,000 of Italians who are allowed to migrate to U.S. Because of this Italians Americans were forced to move to suburbs and to create neighborhoods. They were under a great influence of American culture.
The second reason was the World War II. It created a strong feeling of national unity, even though they weren’t the same people. Nearly a half million of Italians served in American army while the Second World War lasted. With this act, they destroyed popular stereotypes that followed them. They found their way to American life and culture, and the most important thing is that Americans accepted them. With that acceptance, they have enriched the American culture.
The food is a powerful source
In the early 20th century Italian food wasn’t well accepted in America. Since they used garlic in their cuisine, Americans found that as uncivilized because of the strong smell. You can just look at American cuisine and markets and see how drastically things have changed now. Italian cuisine has given a special meaning to American life. Nowadays, you cannot find a place in U.S. that doesn’t have some Italian dish. People have accepted Italian cuisine with the opened hands into their homes. Pizza, meatballs, spaghetti, red sauce all originating from Italy, have become the part of American heritage and culture.