Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Decades ago America was given the nickname, Melting Pot. With all the different ethnic groups pouring in, there was beginning a mix of the world that could not be found elsewhere. The world was finding a place to mix and mingle and learning to get along.
Though called a Melting Pot, it truly wasn’t one at that time. Yes, everyone was coming and finding themselves living in the same cities and working for the same companies. Yet, everyone was still trying to stay separate.
Segregation in the 1950’s was nothing new. Segregation began a long time before that and even before America was born. But in the young country, ethnic groups continued to create their own version of home. They named towns, streets, and counties after their motherlands. All the Italians lived in the same neighborhood. All the Spanish had their area. The Greeks had theirs. The Irish had theirs. The Chinese created their version of China. Though all were coming to America, they were never leaving their homeland behind.
This continued on decade after decade. “Wars” were fought as someone crossed the line from one neighborhood to another. The Irish stuck together in this land. The Hungarians stuck together. The Japanese stuck together. There was very little melting together. The Native Americans were clustered in resource pour reservations. Everyone was mixing like oil and water. Until American born generations dared to cross the lines.
Those that never knew the homeland could not understand this territorial lifestyle. Yes, they followed it. But in their hearts they were American and were slowly letting go of the land their parents and grandparents came from. They began to create their own customs and traditions. Shockingly for that time, that included marrying someone from another neighborhood.
America truly did not become the Melting Pot until inter-ethnic marriages began to take place. Each generation further down the line absorbed this action more than the one before. It began to cross racial barriers. Though many still want to keep the “kinds” separate, it is becoming more difficult to do just that. Why? Because we have become the Melting Pot.
How many full-blooded ethnic people are walking around that were born in America? There are many, but not the majority. We all have a mix of blood in our genealogy and have fun discovering them in our family tree research. America is now a Melting Pot of nationalities that are still learning to live together but a Melting Pot nonetheless.