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for the sake of a cause. There must be a great deal of give and take, particularly where the work in a community is already in progress.
It is a community job; it is hopeless to leave it all to a school superintendent without money or power and with too much to do already. In a number of such towns private organizations together or singly have set the ball rolling. They have made arrangements for the opening of the school at night for the men, and in the afternoon for the mothers. Through the foreign lodges and by personal visits, with committees of the foreign born, they have enrolled the classes, held shop meetings, interested employers in factory classes, worked out a cooperative arrangement with the naturalization courts and the judges, arranged community nights and entertainments regularly where foreign born and native townsmen danced and sang together, celebrated “graduations” as town events, held citizenship receptions for the newly naturalized, and in general made the foreign-born classes feel the continuing interest of the community.1
THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE.
Some person or body within each community must be made definitely responsible for the carrying out of the necessary work. The ideal plan would be for the National Government to employ the Federal director and a number of regional directors in charge of the work with groups of States, the State government to employ a State director, and for the community to employ a community director. The problem being fundamentally one of education, all of these directors might well be a part of their respective educational systems. In the larger communities, especially those with large numbers of foreign-born people, a more or less extensive organization would be necessary. In the smaller places, some teacher might give part of this time to the necessary executive work connected with the problem,
In the communities there should be a committee representative of the different agencies at work in Americanization or those which should be at work. Of this committee the director should be the executive officer. Under the plan outlined above, the State directors would take the initiative in appointing the community committees. They may, however, be appointed in other ways, such as by joint action of the leading agencies themselves, by the superintendent of schools, by chamber of commerce, or otherwise. Care should be taken, however, to see that these committees are thoroughly representative. The foreign born themselves should have adequate representation, as should the industries, labor, the schools, the women, the various organizations, etc.
For the financing of the work, budgets may be provided through the board of education or through the municipal government, through the chamber of commerce, or through a special fund contributed for the purpose by the citizens. Later it is hoped that both
1 Esther Everett Lape.
the State and Nation will be enabled to join with the communities in providing teachers specially trained for the work. Our communities should not wait for this action, however, but should proceed at once with such facilities as are at land or that can be provided.
THE VARIOUS AGENCIES.
The industries.-As has heretofore been pointed out, the industries are in a position to be of the greatest possible influence and assistance in Americanization. Unless we can reach the foreign born at their work, we can never expect to reach them all.
If the employers representing the dominant industries in any industrial city remain indifferent as to whether or not the men know the language, it would require extraordinary effort on the part of other agencies in the community to get them started to learning English.'
Through the interesting of the foremen, of the racial leaders in the plants, and of the men themselves, industries can create interest in the classes. Through kindly encouragement, through protection from interfering overtime, through bonuses or increased wages for graduates of the classes, industries may exert great influence upon continued attendance.
Through proper cooperation between the industries and the local school authorities the men can become better workmen by being taught those things which have a direct bearing upon their work.
In a majority of instances nonindustrial agencies have taken the attitude that education for new Americans must be largely general, and huve failed to appreciate how much they were losing when they ignored the vocational interests of the individual. The result has too often been that the school or other organization has looked upon local industries as being wholly umappreciative of educational values, while industries, on the other hand, have considered Americanization schemes as ng more or less impractical.'
Every department of the industry can be brought into play in the work of Americanization: Employment, safety, welfare, recreational, and legal.
Another point of definite contact with employees is through the legal department. Industries are beginning to appreciate the value of offering legal assistance to their non-American employees in order to protect them from unscrupulous lawyers, frequently of their own nationality. This legal department extends its work in such a way that it saves a great many days of labor to the company during the year. Aside from dealing with strictly legal problems, it undertakes such tasks as paying taxes for the men, so that they will not be required to lose a portion of a day from their work.”
1 W. M. Roberts, in Conference Proceedings,
2 (harles H. Paull, Industrial Report, Solvay Process Co. 146.330°-20-5
In fact the very atmosphere of the plant has a direct bearing upon the quality of the citizenship its employees will possess.
Satisfactory working conditions are among the most potent factors in the building of Americans. Pure air, good light, pure drinking water, ample washing facilities, sanitary conditions, toilet arrangements, safety, first aid, hospital facilities, workmen's relief funds, cooperative activities of whatever sort, all are common factors of contentment, which are in the lap of the employer to be used or discarded as he regards his duty to those whose toil and labor add to his material prosperity."
The schools. The part the schools may play has already been discussed at length in previous chapters. The schools should be the wheel upon which all the other activities may turn. This means that they will have to realize that education does not consist merely of “book learning.” Unless the schools step to the front and take charge of the whole educational problem, other agencies will come in and do so, thus weakening the educational system still further. Where the schools or any other agency in a community are not funitioning as they should in this problem, the efforts of the committee in charge should be directed largely to arousing such agencies to proper activity rather than to creating new agencies to undertake their work.
The task of Americanization as it has been outlined in previous chapters is much broader than mere education. School boards may not now feel that they can undertake such work as improvement of housing conditions or the elimination of imposition notwithstanding the direct bearing such work may have upon the receptivity of the minds of the foreign born in their classes. More than a century elapsed in the conduct of our public schools before the school authorities recognized that the health of the pupils and their home conditions were a part of their educational problem.
There is no reason why the community director, even though he be employed by the school board, may not direct the work of various committees or agencies in all phases of Americanization, even though they seem to be only slightly connected with education. Such matters as housing may be turned over to a chamber of commerce or a civic club, but the central committee should always maintain an interest in it, to see that the foreign born receive proper attention. The task of the central committee after all is not to perform the various necessary tasks, but rather to see that they are performed by the proper agencies.
The use of the school buildings must constitute an important part in any community program of Americanization. We must remember that the school gymnasiums and swimming pools may become quite as important factors in Americanization as the classroom. In fact,
1 E. E. Bach, in Conference Proceedings.
we must stand ready to assist the foreign born in any direction their talents or desires may take them. In New York
A group of sewing machine operators, tailors, and workers in sedentary trades desire gymnasium classes. Within a short time, men who spent their leisure hours in playing pinochle and stuss, and who regarded baseball as a timekilling device of roughnecks and loafers, were playing the American game with Talmudic punctiliousness for its rules and with a degree of enthusiasm sufficient to make up for their past neglect.
Other foreigners who desired an opportunity to discuss current topics formed a debating society; still others wanted to express themselves dramatically, and they were encouraged to do so in the presentation of a play.
The school auditoriums may be made to function as real melting pots in which the valuable components of each race may be fused and the dross removed. For until we mingle with our foreignborn people, visit with them, not as sociologists but as neighbors, we shall never get to know them, nor they us. Until then they will continue to be merely Italians or Hungarians or Poles.
The use of the school buildings for public debates, for pageantry, for celebrations, songfests, and all sorts of social activities, even dances, must become general.
I believe that more and more thought will be given to our school system as the most serviceable instrumentality we possess for the development of a better America. It has been, we must confess, a very much taken-for-granted institution.
It is the beginning of things for the boys and girls, but to the man and the woman it is almost a thing outside of life. This should no be so, for it may be the very center of the social, the intellectual, and in the smaller places of the economic life.”
1 The racial organizations.—These bodies of our foreign-born people who have banded together because of mutual interests and memories have not been brought into the work of Americanization in the past as they should have been. Americanization leagues composed of three members chosen by each crganization of foreign-born (including three native Americans) have been most successful in many cities. Such a body meeting frequently will build up a fine spirit among the representatives of the various races, and they will carry back a mutual understanding to the bodies they represent. Each group of representatives wil become the missionaries among the people of their race to win their full support to the Americanization program. They will become the recruiting officers for the educational classes.
I find the best agency of all for spreading this work among the immigrants is the non-English-speaking person. If you want to get the Greeks into your class, get a few leading Greeks to work among their own people. I have il Greek fruit dealer now telling his people in the Greek language the story of
1 [I. II. Goldberger, in Conference Proceedings,
what the school department of the city is willing to co for the Greek people, saying that the school department will furnish teachers, books, supplies, equipment of all kinds, if 12 or more Greeks will meet in any place convenient to them. We are not attempting to pull them into the school buildings; we will go to them. Our motto is, if the immigrants will not come to the school, we will take the school to them."
When we remember how spiritedly the foreign-born people through their organizations entered into our Liberty Loan campaigns during the war, we can estimate the power that can be exerted for Americanization by their cooperation. Dealing with the groups of foreign born, especially those of different races, naturally calls both for tact and a knowledge of their racial peculiarities. Mrs. Dow gives two instances showing the use of tact and the lack of it.
An enthusiastic committee in an eastern city arranged a loyalty week parade last year. On one block they placed the Greeks of the community. What happened? Two national factions were represented, the people's party and the royalists. The group that had the larger representation stayed, the others with their beautiful flag of white and blue, with their gaily costumed men, women, and children and their band went home. The other faction would have done the same had they been the outnumbered ones. A small group of Americans or an American band between the two groups would have aroided the issue.
In one industrial town where there is almost an equal number of Hungarians and Slovaks a community Fourth of July celebration wis planned. The ques tion of precedence in the order of march presentoul a problem. A social worker who knew and understood the sitnation solved the difficulty. She visited the Joulges and societies of both racial groups and explained the meaning of the holiday and purpose of the parade. She then asked the lodges to send representatives to a meeting of the parade committee, and have them draw lots to see who should lead the foreign groups in the parade, with the understanding that the alternate groups should lead the next year. The plan has continued with success even through the stress of war tinies when factional feelings have been most sensitive.
Properly brought into the full direction of the work in a community, the foreign born will enter whole-heartedly into carrying out the program, but
You must feel welcome before you can give it. Manner goes further than words. Unless you think rightly of the newcomer, and recognize in him a man and brother, with inalienable human rights and needs and a soul, you will not be able to do him any good, and might better leave him alone. If you look upon him as an inferior, he will know it and regard you with resentment. If you think of him as an interloper, he will think of you as intolerant. If you meet him as a man, he will respond with amazing gratitude.
What should particularly be appreciated by the native born is that the point of view that the foreign element in the United States is a menace, as is so often expressed to-day, is most injurious in its effects upon possible (operation.
1 Laurence J. O'Leary, in Conference Proceedings.