Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
I have been extremely good this year. I'll tell you why; I stopped drinking (heavily), stopped blacking out, did really well in school and managed to never get pregnant. I believe all of these things deserve recognition from you and your crew at the North Pole.

I'm not talking some cookies from Mrs. Clause, though they would be nice. For Christmas, I just want a few things. I'll list them below.

1. A new engine for my Prelude. My dad bought me the car a year ago, knowing that the engine was going to die and never told me. It was the first car I had that wasn't literally falling apart. Now I have to sell it because the tags are expired and if it gets towed, I'll never afford to get it out. I don't think I'll be able to sell it.. not because it doesn't run.. but because it reminds me that I once drove a car that wasn't a mom mobile.

2. I think you should talk to my sister for me and tell her that she needs to stop the pain she is putting our family through. Grudges and blame have plagued my family my entire life. It isn't the same without her, the holidays aren't the same. My mom isn't the same. I'm not the same. I have lost the rest of my family and I really just want to have her back without the arguments. I think you should try to make her understand. I feel like family has lost its meaning to our family and forced us all to lose faith in trust.

3. A lifetime supply of gas. My dad makes over $100,000 a year but would rather spend it on Harley's, pick-up trucks, campers, boats, smokers, 18-wheelers, his drinking habit, and his illegimate son than to pay for his daughter to get back and forth to school.

4. Tell the credit card companies that keep calling to fuck off. They call 50 times a day and take up all the room on the caller-id.

I don't want a lot for christmas, I just want my mom to stop worrying. Everyday she is in fear of losing the house. Every day we have to search the cabinets to find something to eat because her unemployment check barely paid the bills. I know that christmas is far away and that it isn't supposed to be about the gifts. Everyday my mom cries about Christmas and says she doesn't know how she'll handle it. She has always been able to buy her four children everything they asked for. Now, she doesn't know how she'll get them anything. I am okay with that. I don't need gifts to enjoy christmas, but she does. Christmas has always meant everything to my mom.

I really wish you did exist. When I was 9 and we lived in a one bedroom apartment, I told my mom not to worry because Santa would bring us gifts. I guess part of me still believes that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Barack Obama's position on Higher Education (unedited)

Throughout his presidential campaign, Democrat Barack Obama has emphasized “change,” but more importantly for college students, he has emphasized on reforming higher education.

If elected, Obama promises to simplify the application process for financial aid, eliminate subsidies on the most costly student loans, expand Pell Grants for low-income undergraduate students and improve community colleges across the nation.

Obama plans to create the “American Opportunity Tax Credit” which proposes that the first $4,000 of a college education would be completely free for most Americans. The tax credit would also make community college free for most students.

At AACC, tuition is has been $86 per credit hour for Anne Arundel County residents since 2006. For a full-time credit student, two semesters at AACC cost $2,064. With Obama’s tax credit of $4,000, an AACC student would have their tuition covered and enough for fees and books.

There is a catch to Obama’s tax credit plan: recipients have to complete 100 hours of community service a year. Community service might be a better alternative to the high interest rates that accompany student loans.

Even at an affordable community college, students may still wonder, “How am I going to pay for this?” According to Obama and Joe Biden’s plan, the average graduate leaves college with more than $19,000 in debt.

Obama and Biden’s plan promises to eliminate subsidies for the most expensive private loan programs. Unlike publicly funded loans, the Federal Family Education Loan Program is funded privately by banks and lenders. Private loans cost more than publicly funded loans and do not offer any extra benefits. Obama plans to eliminate the subsidies given to private lenders and direct the money into aid for students.

Many students are forced to seek student loans when financial aid isn’t enough or their families are determined ineligible.

Obama has proposed to reform the financial aid process by eliminating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). Instead of completing the lengthy application, families would be able to apply for financial aid by checking a box on their tax forms.

He argues that by simplifying the financial aid process, more families will be able to afford college tuition without racking up student loan debt.

Throughout Obama’s political career, he has worked towards increasing Pell Grant’s available to students. Currently, Pell Grant’s are available to low-income undergraduate students.
Grant amounts are determined by the estimated family contribution, the cost of attendance and whether the student attends school full or part-time classes.

The maximum amount a student can receive from a Pell Grant is $4,731. Obama hopes to maximize the Pell Grant to $5,400 in order to better fit the needs of students and reflect tuition inflation.

According to Obama’s plan, 12 million people attend community college’s a year and without them, millions of people would not be able to access the education and skills to succeed.

Obama plans to give more support to community colleges though his Community College Partnership Program. He hopes to provide grants to community colleges to analyze what programs and degrees are needed for the American people to keep pace with the demanding workforce.

He would also like to reward the institutions that have high graduation and transfer rates.

“We'll help schools determine what skills and technical education are needed to help local industry; we'll expand new degrees for emerging fields; and we'll reward schools that graduate more students,” said Obama in a speech gave at the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in 2007. “That's the change we need so that our young people can achieve their dreams.”

How State Budget cuts will affect AACC. (unedited)

College officials say that although no final decisions or plans have been decided yet, it doesn’t look like any specific programs at AACC will suffer from recent state budget cuts.
On Oct. 15, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and the Board of Public Works announced a budget cut which has resulted in $1 million cut from Anne Arundel Community College’s operating budget.
The board is cutting approximately $350 million from Maryland’s budget and 8 percent will be cut from all community college aid. AACC officials are confident that recent cuts to state budget will not jeopardize students, faculty or staff.
“A million dollars is a lot of money,” said Vice President for Learning Resource Management, Melissa Beardmore. “I wouldn’t want to have to pay it myself but the college’s operating budget is over $100 million. So $1 million, in the scheme of things, we’ll manage.”
Linda Schulte, director of Public Relations and spokesperson for AACC President, Dr. Martha Smith, said that there are several ways the college leadership could manage reductions to the college’s operating budget.
“If we don’t fill the [empty] positions and we don’t add any tremendous increase in benefits or programs or anything like that, we can weather the first million dollar storm,” said Schulte.
According to the Human Resources office, the college is still currently advertising and filling positions. It is still unknown whether college officials will implement a hiring freeze.
While the college will survive the first round of cuts, there are many concerns that if the state and county revenues do not improve, community colleges may suffer more cuts in December; no one knows how much the next cuts might be.
“It’s a million dollars - for now- and there could be additional cuts – at least that’s what we’re hearing from the governor and the comptroller,” said Beardmore. “So it’s still a little early to tell.”
AACC officials are committed to making education affordable and accessible to students. Since 2006, tuition rates for county resident students have been $86 per credit hour.
Schulte says that the Board of Trustees is doing everything thing they can to avoid raising tuition rates.
“The Board of Trustees is very committed to affordability as one of our five mission mandates here,” said Schulte. “They’ve taken a long hard look at the million that we’re going to lose and they don’t think that’s going result in that. But if something else comes down the road, I can’t speak for what they’ll do.”
College representatives also fear a reduction in much needed renovation funding.
“Next year we’re on a list to get more funding to help with our library expansion as one of the capital projects,” said Schulte. “Well, you know, maybe the state looks at that and says we’re not going to fund capital projects at community colleges at all.
“But that’s just speculation at this point.”
The Andrew G. Truxal Library was built in 1968 and renovations are said to begin in fiscal year 2010.
The library’s plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems all need to be repaired or replaced.
According to the county’s capital budget and program, the library will be expanded by 31,260 GSF square feet and will also be updated to meet student needs. The renovation should be completed by 2013.
The capital budget will fund $21,300,000 million of the renovation but college officials are unsure how much the state will be able to contribute.
There are several ways the college might compensate for future budget cuts.
According to Schulte, business partnerships with companies seeking to train employees is
one way the college generates revenue.
Keeping enrollment rates high may also help the college compensate for the reduction in state contribution.
In 2007, AACC had an enrollment of 56,370 non-credit and credit students and with new programs such as WeekendYou, enrollment is steadily increasing.
Schulte says that the troubled economy may also increase enrollment.
“Historically, when times are tough, a lot of people come back to community college to either get a better career change or upgrade their skills because they want to keep their job,” said Schulte. “Growing the enrollment is another revenue producer and so that’s obviously at the heart of what we do.”
College officials will not know what the final fate of the college budget is until late December. Still, the administration and faculty are conscious of excessive and unnecessary spending.
“At present I have not heard about direct impact on faculty, but indirectly we are all att-empting to economize when possible, such as by being cautious with use of supplies and
other resources,” said professor Roy Carson, president of The Faculty Organization.

Despite the fear of future budget cuts, officials are confident that their leadership and community support will uphold the college through the economic downturn.
According to Schulte and Beardmore, the college’s first priority is students. When Dr. Martha Smith became the president of AACC in 1994, she declared that student success comes first. Beardmore said that AACC students should know that they are always first priority.
“The primary thing they should know is that the college’s mantra is ‘students first’ so whatever we do is with that in mind. That’s our guiding principle,” said Beardmore.

College officials are dedicated to keeping AACC affordable and accessible to all of their students; however, Schulte said that the school is affected by the troubled economy too.

“I think they [the students] just have to understand that there are economic pressures on us,” said Schulte. “This is $100 million business – the college is these days. It’s not a like a buck fifty, our budget is about 100 million. So, were committed to our mission and were committed to all of those things but at the end of the day, we have to pay our bills.”

Friday, October 17, 2008

I don't understand anything about football. I don't know what a first down is, I don't know why people cheer for yards. All I know is that a touch-down is six points and a field goal is one point. I have never cared about football. But, last night when I watched my little brother play JV football was quite possibly the most moving experience I've ever had. He stood on the sideline, his white jersey turned brown from being tackled. My little brother is quite possibly the laziest person I know. Last night was the first time I have seen him work as a part of a team, the first time I've heard people cheer for him. I don't have to understand what a first down is to understand how much that meant to him. There was a water tower next to the field that read "GO FALCONS!" and fall leaves falling on the field. People were screaming and the bleachers were rumbling from people stomping. The stands echoed from "Na na na, na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye" when there were 10 seconds left on the scoreboard - it was clear the Falcons had won the game. The Falcons lined up infront of the auidence and yelled "Thank You!"
For the first time, I understood why Football means so much to so many people. For the first time, football meant something to me. When my little brother came out of the locker room with his hair wet with sweat - and quite possibly the rest of his body - I ran up to him (literally, ran) and gave him the biggest hug I have ever given him. I am so proud of him.

My little sister haley is here. I love it when she is here because I feel like I have a family again. Even though on the ride home me, my mom, and her had an argument over whether or not her dad is an asshole. We fought over this because when I was little, her father used to scream at me to look at him when he was talking to him. If I didn't, he would grab my chin and force me to look in his eyes. I am nineteen now and cannot look anyone directly in their eyes. Last night when him and my mother both had attitudes, I said "both of you need to calm down, I don't know why your so stressed out." He started screaming at me, told me to look at him when he was talking to me, and grabbed my chin to force me to do so. I said nothing and obeyed. Why didn't I tell him that I am not a child anymore? Why didn't I tell him to never put his hands on me again? Maybe thats the point - he scared the shit out of me when I was eight and 11 years later, he still does. I wish my little sister could understand that.

We're making halloween cookies tonight and carving pumpkins, and perhaps doing a little painting. We are quite the festive bunch. We are holding on to something we lost a long time ago - our childhood.

I have to go to class today, and I don't think its necessary but my newspaper has promised a surprise so how could I turn that down?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So I have decided that maybe I'll start actually using this blog. It's what the cools kid are doing. Or not doing. Wwhhaatever. So I have decided that I hate the AACC library. Every time I try to find a book, I can't. I figured I'm just retarded because I am incapable of navigating a library. Well, as it turns out, I'm not retarded - they are.
I was looking for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson and according to the catalogue, it was in the library, along with many other books by him. GREAT! So, I go searching, despite my fears. Not only could I not find the specific book I was looking for, BUT no other books by him. I go and ask the circulation desk to please help me. "Did you look for it?" God. Of course I looked for it, perhaps you could come show me where it is and perhaps how to find books so we can avoid this problem. 10 minutes of searching goes by. "Hm. Thats weird. Its not here." You are completely right ::taps nose:: so maybe you should update the FUCKING CATALOGUE with a note that says, search at your own risk because chances are, you won't find what your looking for. BITCHES.

Aahh. Well I have started to write for the school newspaper. Lots of boring articles about lots of boring happenings at the college. Look for me on the front page.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mama always told me who you love.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Historic Construction: Final Paper in HIS212.

Melanie Gilkerson
August 7, 2008
“Le Promesse Rotte.”
Historic Construction: Port Of Entry
Sicily is a place that many today go as a tourist destination. Vacationers are stunned by its beauty and say things like “if only I could live here, I would be happy.” I lived on a farm in rural Sicily and I did not share the popular idea that Sicily is a beautiful place. My father had passed away from disease and it was only myself, my mother, and younger sister. There was little hope in the face of devastation. The night before I boarded the ship, my mother said, “there are no guarantees, Nicola Valentino. Promises made are promises broken. But I may promise you this; there is a place where you are given a choice. America is a place where you may say no.” She knew this from hear say, for she had never been to the America’s. She knew this because she believed any where is better than Sicily. She believed I would do better there. This is what my mother told me the night before I boarded the ship to the America’s. This is what I learned at fifteen years old- I have no choice.

At fifteen, I was severely destitute. Looking back now, I suppose I came to America the same reason poor American boys join the military – it’s the only way out. But much like them, I did not get what I expected when I was promised security and prosperity. I left Sicily for the United States on April 4th, 1895 and arrived at Ellis Island on April 11th. I then had begun searching for a place to sleep. The city was like nothing I had ever seen. I ended up in a place now referred to as Five Points in Manhattan. It was not like Mother had described. This was not the land of the free I had hoped it would be. I had no money on me, and no plan to speak of. I went into a building and had a seat. To my surprise, there were not many women in the saloon and many men sat playing cards. I sat in the saloon for a bit, sitting to myself, until all of a sudden I heard yelling overcome the dim lit saloon. One of the white men had jumped from the table, threw his cards, and begun pushing the other men at the table. I did not understand what he was yelling about. I did not know English nor was I familiar with the card game being played. I saw a young man who looked like me; I knew he was from Italy as well. I stared for a bit but did not approach him. It was only later that I would learn his name, learn where he came from, learned why he was in America, and why he was in this saloon. He would later show me a place to sleep, a place I would live for a long time. However, we did not speak but only exchanged eye contact –this moment was not a fleeting exchange of understanding – this eye contact established my life in America. I would later discover his name was Celio Bonaventura and he found prosperity in gambling.

Celio introduced me to my home in America which became a little room no larger than a closet. My mattress had lain on the wooden floor. The sheets that covered the mattress were yellow with brown stains that had not washed away. I slept here for many years. I sent many letters home telling my mother of the wonderful life I had achieved. I told her that America was everything she said it to be and I had achieved our dreams. While I was used to living like this, in Sicily I had spent most of my time outside. In New York, I stayed mostly in my room. The allies were lined with carnage, victims, orphans and tramps gripping on to their American dream, believing that this is what they came here for. The children, not much younger than I walked aimlessly, speaking none, desperately searching. The children’s eyes skimmed the streets for the strangers who had birthed them. The strangers who were victims too -who had died in their closets of diseases I would never know the name of - of diseases no one bothered to treat. I sometimes found myself skimming the streets along with them – hoping to find what they were so desperately searching for. I often wondered why someone did not stop it and how I wish I could do something to end it. No one gave these children a place to sleep because there was no place to sleep. They wandered aimlessly into allies and were victims of silence.

My neighbors were from the same place I was. We all shared the same dreams of escaping the life we had known in Sicily. We all shared the same shame in lying to our families back home when we told them we had achieved the American dream.
When I left my family behind, I believed I would see them again. When I received my first job as a street vendor, I sent home what money I could – which was not much. I did not sell my bananas for much. I did not sell my apples for much. I did not ask for much because there was not much to be given. I took what I could and it wasn’t much. I had come to know many men who told me of their family. They told me they had brothers who went to work in coal mines and railroads owned by the leaders of this country; the ones who controlled this country. They had fathers who had become shoemakers and mothers who had done laundry. No one had told me how to be like the leaders of this country. They just told me how to stay alive. Many of them had died before I had a chance to ask more of them. Many them had gone back home to Italy. The glow their faces shown when their ship landed were now covered up by shame and dirt.

When I could not buy food, Celio introduced me to a man named Paulie. It was only then when I could stop selling fruit. It was only then when I could send more money home. It was only then that I stopped sleeping in yellow sheets. Paulie turned my stand into a grocery store. He turned the back of the store into a gambling den. I was a part of La Cosa Nostra, what would later be referred to as the Sicilian Mafia. Paulie taught me how to speak English and I was a quick learner. Paulie taught me how to dress and how to have the barber cut my hair to match the rest of the guys. He taught me how to kill the Irish and the Jews and how to have them on my side. Paulie showed me the men that came into five points wearing suits, going into allies and buildings to give away turkeys. These men would give us jobs and they’d buy up Fifth Avenue but they were our heroes because they did something. We found out there was money to be had in their campaigns where they bought the city up, so we gave them some of ours to get more back. We found boys to do our jobs for us and taught them how to take lives. We taught them how to kill because that’s how they would get what they wanted; what no one was willing to give them. We taught the young boys how to steal coins from another mans pocket. They felt they had no choice but to listen to us and we felt we had no choice but to teach them. We knew this was their only hope and our only hope. We never got caught because we knew the system. We paid the cops off and we paid Tammany Hall off. If there was ever a witness, they lost their memory.
There were always girls at the parties and always around. Paulie paid some of them to sleep with men and beat them if didn’t. There were always girls around but not the kind you want to marry. In one of my trips up town, I met a girl named Kathleen who had blonde hair and long legs. Her father was wealthy and I don’t know why she ended up with me, but when I asked her to marry me, she said yes. She taught me how to be an American, she taught me what to say in public and what not to say. But most of all she showed me that the stories my mother told me were true, but it just takes time to see it. She told me that no where in life could possibly be a dream and nothing is ever as good as it seems. She began houses that taught immigrants how to care for their children and how to be an American. She took care of them. She helped me leave Five Points and leave Paulie when her father gave me a job and gave us a house. We were married for ten years before I lost her. She became extremely sick and never became better. She died in 1918 and I have missed her ever since.
My mother was right not to promise me happiness because I am not sure she nor I could understand happiness. We have the right to pursuit happiness, but not the right to happiness, that cannot be promised. I never went home to Italy though I saw many go back home. I have since lost my wife and I am now an American. However, my struggle to survive in this country will never end. I strongly believe now that the American dream is not about riches and fortune but of survival.

Italian immigrant. It has been shown that during the period of 1880 and 1920, 4 million Italians migrated to America. No other ethnic group has sent so many immigrants at one time, (1). Most Italian immigrants of that time were male, (1). According to Alan Brinkley, most immigrants were young; the majority between fifteen and forty-five years old, (2). Therefore, I decided that my protagonist should be Italian and fifteen years old when he enters America.

“Nicola Valentino,” two popular Sicilian names, (3). I first chose to write my narrative on an Italian immigrant after I learned about Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti; to me, the represented the discrimination and fear that many American’s had towards immigrants. Nicola Sacco highly influenced the protagonist’s name. The narratives protagonist, Nicola, comes to America in order to have a choice and represents the dreams that all immigrants possess. I chose Nicola as his name because it means people’s victory. He overcomes harsh living conditions and discrimination and works harder than any one should have to. He does not accept defeat; for this reason, I chose his first name to be Nicola because it is a popular Sicilian name and it embodies what he represents. I chose his last name to be Valentino for several reasons. First, it is also a popular Sicilian name. Secondly, it means of hope and love; it represents the hope Nicola had when he emigrated to the United States – the reason many come to America, hope for better, for more; it represents the love that he possesses for his mother, Italy, and most of all, of himself. These two names are combined to define who Nicola is as a person, an immigrant, and later as an assimilated American.

o “Celio Bonaventura,” common Italian names.
I. Celio: Means “heaven.”
II. Bonaventura: Means good fortune in Italian. The 13th century saint Bonaventura was a Franciscan monk and a Doctor of the Church (4).

Nicola first settles in Five Points in Manhattan which was known as the worse slum in New York City. Five Points was an immigrant ghetto (2) home to many multiple family tenements where Nicola would live. It met at the intersection of five streets in Manhattan including: Anthony, Orange, Mulberry, Cross and Little Water.
Nicola talks of what he has heard of other people doing to survive in America. This is used to demonstrate the other choices made by immigrants to survive, including migrating west to work at railroads, (468).

Five Points was the original spawning place of the old time gangs such as “Five Points Gang,” (164). The gang was also called the “La Cosa Nostra,” or the Sicilian Mafia. This gang was prominent in American culture, breeding such gangsters as Al Capone. I felt it was important to relate Nicola to the Five Points Gang because of the situation he was in. I think it strongly indicates the choices he had to face: poverty or wealth. In this case, however illegal, he chose wealth. Although, he did ultimately leave the Five Points gang when he met Kathleen.

The protagonist, Nicola, was heavily influenced by Anthony Apacalo, the first major mafia don of New York City. Nicola was also influenced by Paolo Antonini Vaccarelli also known as Paul Kelly. He was also mildly influenced by Johnny Torrio, another Five Points gang boss.

Tammany Hall plays a minor part in my narrative but nevertheless an important one. “By threatening voters, falsifying voter lists and stuffing ballot boxes, the gang helped aid corrupt city officials in the infamous Tammany Hall.”

In the 1900’s, the three leading causes of death were pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea and were responsible for 1/3 of all American deaths, (9). Therefore, in the beginning of my narrative, Nicola describes the mass of people and children dying around him. This also describes the poor living conditions of New York City.

The 19th century shift in population from country to city that accompanied industrialization and immigration resulted in outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, influenza and malaria, (9).

Nicola’s wife, Kathleen, is killed in 1918 because of a influenza pandemic which caused 500,000 deaths in the United States and 20 million deaths total, (9).


v Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of The American People. Vol. II: From 1865. Focusing on:
Ø Chapter 17 –
§ “The Immigrant Workforce,” (468-469).
¨Used to describe how immigrants impacted the growth of the industry, why immigrants came to America to escape poverty, and the jobs they were subjected to.
Ø Chapter 18 –
§ “The New Urban Growth,” (479)
¨ Used to describe and understand the growth of immigration during the 1890’s.
¨ Descriptive explanations of “immigrant ghettoes,” and tenements.
¨ Descriptive explanations of the stride immigrants made to assimilate and become “true Americans.”
¨ Used to explain that the majority of immigrants were young – between 15-45 yrs old and male.
§ “The Urban Landscape,” (485)
¨ Used to gain a better understanding of the living conditions poor immigrants were subjected to such as tenements in comparison to the living conditions of the middle-class.
§ “Strains of Urban Life,” (489).
¨ Used to describe poor living conditions Nicola endured including pollution, poverty, crime, and violence.
¨ Describes existence of “gangs,” in the urban community. Inspired me to research further the existence of Italian gangs in New York City and therefore decided to make Nicola a part of a gang to demonstrate his living conditions and environment.
Ø Chapter 21 –
§ “The Settlement House Movement,” (557-560)
¨ Used to describe the supposed need for immigrant assimilation by the development of such settlement houses as “Hull House” created by sociologist Jane Addams.
§ “The Temperance Crusade” (573)
¨ Used to describe the effect temperance had on immigrants.
§ “Immigration Restriction,” (573-574)
¨ Used to describe the immigrant population’s effect on social problem’s and the effect it had on the immigrants themselves.
¨ Describes the “nativist” view.
Ø Chapter 23 –
§ “The Red Scare,” (621-622)
¨ Describes the effect radicalism and communism in the 20’s had within the United States and the measures taken to prevent it.
¨ Describes Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti; two Italians convicted of murdering to pay roll employees in 1920 mainly because of their affiliation with Anarchism. Therefore revealing the meaning behind the protagonist’s first name.

Ø Chapter 24 –
§ “A Conflict of Cultures,” (640-642)
¨ Describes the effect prohibition had on Catholic immigrants such as Italian’s experienced.
¨ Describes Nativism.
¨ Describes the Ku Klux Klan’s judgments and acts towards immigrants.

v Bibliobase: Primary Source Documents for History. Edited by Michael Bellesiles. 2000. References made to:
Ø How the Other Half Lives (1890) by Jacob Riis, (10-11)
¨ Used to describe tenement living conditions that many immigrants in poverty were forced to face.

v Taking Sides: Issues in American History, Vol. II, 9/e. Edited by Madaras-SoRelle. 2001. References made to:
Ø “The Failure of Progressivism” (1971) by Richard M. Abrams
¨ Used to describe progressivism’s effect on immigrants on the “ethnic movement.”

v World Encyclopedia of Organized Crime by Jay Robert Nash. Paragon House Publishers: 1992.
¨ Used to describe mob bosses of the Five Points gang.

Relevant Websites
The Italian Immigrant Experience in America (1870-1920) by Joan Rapczynski.
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Curriculum for a lesson plan to teach eleventh graders of Italian immigration in to the United States. Very useful in that it uses valid statistics and describes why many Italians migrated to the US. I use this website for statistics on Italian immigration and to get a better understanding of what Italian immigrants experienced.
Tell Me Your Name: Sicily – The Meaning of Sicilian Names. A guide to the origins and meanings of Sicilian names, Accessed through a Google search on “Popular Sicilian names,” in order to add Sicilian authenticity to the protagonist of my narrative, Nicola Valentino.
Behind The Name: Italian Names. A collection of Italian names and meanings, accessed through a Google search on “Italian names,” to define a name for Nicola’s friend, Celio Bonaventure. I used a different website than I did for Nicola because it is never specified what region of Italy Celio is from. Therefore, I used a broader search engine.
An informative site in which depicts the Italians immigrants origin and history in the United States. This was very useful because it addresses every issue an Italian immigrant faced. Describes the hardships in Italy that would inspire an Italian to travel to America and what they experienced at Ellis Island. It was this site that showed me that many Italians never made it past New York and many settled in south Manhattan and Mulberry Street. I then discovered that Mulberry St. was apart of “Five Points,” which was the worse slum in New York City.

Federal Bureau of Investigations. Organized Crime. Overview of Italian Organized Crime. Describes the history and long standing legacy of the Italian Mafia in American society. Describes Charles “Lucky” Luciano, a Sicilian, as the person responsible for starting the American La Cosa Nostra. Website also describes the Sicilian mafia and its relations in America.

Builders & Titans: Lucky Luciano. By Edna Buchanan. Time Magazine. 1998.
Article describes personal biography of Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Used to gain a better understanding of organized crime in the early 1900’s.

Immigration: A Journey to America. “The Italians.” ThinkQuest. Describes the living conditions in which the Italians faced when they emigrated to the United States. Provides a prolific history of Italian immigration.

Broad informational website describing the living conditions at Five Points in Manhattan. Used to describe Nicola’s life in Five Points as well as the organized crime he was thus involved in.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Information from Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. (1900-1999). 1999. Vol. 48 No. 29. CDC study revealing living conditions in the 1900’s, leading cause of death, and life expectancy. I used this site to decide how Nicola would die and at what age. Also used to describe the 1918 influenza pandemic.

Wikipedia: Five Points Gang. Quote used concerning Five Points and Tammany Hall.

Harpers Weekly: Cartoon of The Day. “Hygiene of New York City.” 1865. Describes the ignorance of New York City health officials in 1865. Used to describe the unsanitary conditions of tenement housing as well as the epidemics in which accompanied it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Perhaps it is right, or even necessary to forget accidents...

"Perhaps it is right or even necessary to forget accidents, and wars are surely accidents to which our species seems prone. If we could learn from our accidents it might be well to keep the memories alive, but we do not learn." - John Steinbeck
It seems that my US History II class has had a reversed affect on me. I believed, before taking this course, that by actually learning about America's past that I would somehow gain a sense of pride. I did not. In fact, all this class has done is expose things I think I would have been better off not knowing. As naive and immature as that statement appears, I do not think it is wrong to say. I do not understand why America solves its problems with war. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has asked this. Honestly though, I feel that it is what it is. I am tired of the egocentrism. We do not enter wars for the humanity of the world. Yes, we went to WWII and ended the halocaust, GREAT! That might be true and I might be proud of that - had the US allowed the 900 Jews attempting to flee from their inevitable death on the St. Louis. Instead? Instead we refused to let the St. Louis even DOCK. We are so concerned with global security that we drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshma? Yes, we are quite the bunch.