The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF):
The Italians That Built America: The Italian Immigrant
They were our mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, great-grandfathers, great-grandmothers and beyond. At the turn of the century, millions of Italians decided to leave all their beloved Italia, and create a new life in America. Most intended to make a new home for themselves, while others intended to stay long enough to make their fortune and then return to Italy. Life was not easy once they arrived in the Land of Opportunity. Not only did they not know the language, but many of them were without any education or training to speak of. Thus they were mainly relegated to manual laboring jobs.
To cope with this transition to a strange land with a different language, Italian immigrants, like many other immigrant groups, tended to live very close together in the cities to which they came. These pockets of the Italian population were called "Little Italies." Within these communities they helped each other, fed each other, practiced their religion, and kept up many of the familiar customs of their homeland.
They worked hard. They sacrificed. They were discriminated against. They endured the impossible. But notwithstanding all of this, little by little, they worked their way up...
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