By Shaobin Zheng
Located along H and I Streets between 5th and 8th Streets NW, the Washington, DC, Chinatown was once home to thousands of Chinese immigrants. Today, mostly as a result of development and gentrification, fewer than 300 Chinese Americans live in the neighborhood. The historical development of the neighborhood speaks both to the vibrant immigrant community that once lived there and the indomitable will of those who remain to fight against social and racial injustice.
Margaret Lynch-Brennan is a current public scholar for Humanities New York (formerly the New York Council for the Humanities). She lives in Latham, New York, and has been a member since 2002.
In the past year, historians have frequently been called upon to make meaning of news. From Confederate monuments and statues around the country to President Donald Trump’s travel ban executive orders, historians have answered the call to provide historical perspective and analysis. As AHA executive director Jim Grossman wrote recently in Perspectives, the assumption that “historians should have a voice in public culture and in public policy” is a guiding principle for the AHA’s agenda.
Every week, AHA Today showcases a new grant, fellowship, or scholarship of interest to historians which has been posted to our free Calendar. This week we are featuring the 2018 George E. Pozzetta Dissertation Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society.
By Julia G. Young
In March 2015, I submitted the final page proofs for my book on Mexican migration to the United States. In June of that same year, Donald Trump gave his now-infamous speech in which he called Mexican immigrants drug dealers, rapists, and criminals. We all know what has happened since then: a nativist presidential campaign, a rhetorical battle with Mexico over the border wall, an upset election, and a growing number of deportations.
President Donald J. Trump’s new executive order on immigration was supposed to go into effect today. The new order was slightly narrower in scope than the original—it suspended travel from six countries instead of seven, and made exceptions for certain visa holders and US legal permanent residents. It also no longer singled out Syrian refugees for indefinite exclusion from the United States—all refugee settlement, including for those fleeing Syria, would have been temporarily suspended for four months pending further review.
Facing extensive criticism and litigation of his first executive order restricting entry into the United States, President Donald Trump has issued a revised executive order (#13780), this time citing historical evidence in support of the policy restricting immigration and refugee resettlement. The American Historical Association has applied the discipline’s professional standards to the revised directive and found that it does not pass historical muster. Moreover, like its predecessor EO 13769, the order “stands at odds with the values stated in our nation’s founding documents.”
By Karen Inouye
In February 1942, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which directed state and local authorities to locate and detain Japanese American citizens and their family members in the western United States at a number of prison sites. In addition to being given only days to prepare for their imprisonment, Japanese Americans received little information about their destinations, the proposed length of their stay, or the conditions they would endure.