Dear Friends,

Did you know that one of our first travel bans was to keep Italians out?

One newspaper noted in the 1890s: "The floodgates are open. The bars are down. The sally-ports are unguarded. The dam is washed away. The sewer is unchoked. Europe is vomiting! In other words, the scum of immigration is viscerating [sic] upon our shores."

Panic about the waves of European immigrants, especially from Southern Europe and Eastern Europe, resulted in the 1924 Immigration Act -  one of the most restrictive immigration laws in U.S. history. 

That law later resulted in Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler being turned away on our shores and sent back to Nazi Europe.

It's fascinating to watch Americans passionately research their family history and ancestry, often using the latest DNA technology and services.  How many of us find we are the products of "the scum of immigration" - washed upon our shores how many generations ago?

Here's a beautiful song about boundaries and in-between-states: Leonard Cohen's "Love Calls You by Your Name"; it seems especially appropriate for this particular July 4th.

This Independence Day, I'll be honoring my Italian-Irish heritage. (Yes, the Irish were another unpopular immigrant group.)

Let's give thanks for the grit of our ancestors; somehow they got us here --

we're all here together now.

A VISION AND A VERSE will be back in the Autumn.

Independence Day - July 4, 2018

From the series "Past Lives" ©Margaret McCarthy



Welcome to my shores;
the froth of hope pushing me
past my skin's insubstantial
boundaries, trembling
I passed through all, like water.
Birthplace willingly effaced,
I landed; now I'm erased.
My future work, everywhere.