Saturday, October 10, 2015

50 years old and still topical

Where: American History Museum

When: through January 20, 2016

The Hart-Celler Act may be 50 years old, but the issue of immigration could not be more current.  This act shaped modern American society, by allowing people from Latin America and Asia to immigrate in large numbers to the U.S.

Prior to 1965, U.S. immigration policies favored white people seeking to come here from Northern Europe.  The Hart-Celler Act enabled immigrants from all over the world to come, and our food, popular culture and way of life generally have been changed (in my opinion, for the better) in many ways.  This is a far more diverse nation than it was before 1965, and I think many people are more open to learning about the experiences of those different from themselves than they were when they lived only with those who looked and lived just as they did.

The people you might recognize in the picture above include not only President Lyndon Johnson signing the legislation, but also his wife Lady Bird Johnson, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey and both Ted and Bobby Kennedy.

Verdict:  If you're at American History, stop and have a look at this display in a case on the 2nd floor (it's off to the side, not in the main hall).

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