ISBN-10:
0674062248
ISBN-13:
9780674062245
Pub. Date:
09/30/2011
Publisher:
Harvard
Americans All: The Cultural Gifts Movement

Americans All: The Cultural Gifts Movement

by Diana Selig
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Overview

From the 1920s--a decade marked by racism and nativism--through World War II, hundreds of thousands of Americans took part in a vibrant campaign to overcome racial, ethnic, and religious prejudices. They celebrated the "cultural gifts" that immigrant and minority groups brought to society, learning that ethnic identity could be compatible with American ideals.

Diana Selig tells the neglected story of the cultural gifts movement, which flourished between the world wars. Progressive activists encouraged pluralism in homes, schools, and churches across the country. Countering racist trends and the melting-pot theory of Americanization, they championed the idea of diversity. They incorporated new thinking about child development, race, and culture into grassroots programs--yet they were unable to address the entrenched forms of discrimination and disfranchisement faced by African Americans in particular. This failure to grasp the deep social and economic roots of prejudice ultimately limited the movement's power.

In depicting a vision for an inclusive American identity from a diverse citizenry, Americans All is a timely reminder of the debates over difference and unity that remain at the heart of American society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674062245
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/30/2011
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Diana Selig is Associate Professor of History, Claremont McKenna College.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations*
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Cultural Pluralism in Interwar America
  • 1. Searching for the Origins of Prejudice
  • 2. Parent Education and the Teaching of Tolerance
  • 3. Cultural Gifts in the Schools
  • 4. Religious Education and the Teaching of Goodwill
  • 5. A New Generation in the South
  • 6. Cultural Pride and the Second Generation
  • 7. Prejudice and Social Justice
  • 8. Pluralism in the Shadow of War
  • Epilogue: The Fall and Revival of Cultural Gifts
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index


  • * Illustrations:

    • Children at the Bailly Branch of the Gary Public Library, Indiana
    • Clara Savage Littledale
    • “Teach Your Child Tolerance,” 1934
    • “Things for Them to Do,” 1935
    • Rachel Davis DuBois
    • Students in Fort Lee, New Jersey, present information on black history
    • Students in New York exhibiting Jewish ceremonial objects
    • Everett Clinchy
    • The first goodwill tour, 1933
    • Will Alexander
    • Charles Johnson
    • Students recreating a Mexican market
    • A third-grade class performing Italian folk songs and dances
    • Fourth-graders modeling Africa in sand
    • Alain Locke
    • Cover from Americans All, Immigrants All
    • Illustrated map from Americans All, Immigrants All



What People are Saying About This

An excellent and original work--carefully researched, cleverly organized, and, best of all, beautifully written. Diana Selig provides our first sophisticated portrait of a tremendously influential movement in American political culture. She neatly
bridges intellectual and social history, showing how new ideas percolated from universities into the broader public realm.

Jonathan Zimmerman

An excellent and original work--carefully researched, cleverly organized, and, best of all, beautifully written. Diana Selig provides our first sophisticated portrait of a tremendously influential movement in American political culture. She neatly bridges intellectual and social history, showing how new ideas percolated from universities into the broader public realm.

Jonathan Zimmerman, New York University

Jonathan Holloway

Selig offers an insightful and well-written study on the wide range of efforts to promote interethnic and multicultural understandings during the interwar period. She historicizes the bomb-scarred terrain of the late twentieth-century culture wars, challenging the idea that multiculturalism grew out of the merger in the 1960s and 1970s of group and individual rights activism and ethnic revivalism. The work also fits in nicely with the most important trends in civil rights literature, as Selig argues that multicultural education has a much longer and more complex history than we have believed. Americans All is a unique and exciting contribution.

Jonathan Holloway, Yale University

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