Ethnographic Notes B – An American Ethnic Group


Irish Catholics migrated to the United States beginning in 1845 as a result of the potato famine in Ireland. According to the site Digital History they maintained their own cultural identity because of protestant persecution once they arrived in the states. The site also points out that Irish Catholic immigrants focused on collective action and politics to improve their situation.

” Instead of emphasizing individual upward mobility, many Irish men found work in more egalitarian situations, on labor gangs or construction crews or as longshoremen. Irish Catholic men were also especially likely to seek government employment (especially as police officers) or to find jobs under contractors who held city contracts or in public utilities, such as street railways. During the 19th century, Irish Catholics often took the lead in forming and supporting labor unions.”

“Irish American Solidarity” Digital History. May 24 2013 <>.

Michele – Italian Immigration

Italians moved to the United States to escape poverty.  They never really wanted to state in America; we use the term “Birds of Passage” for people not wanting to stay here.  They always planned to go back.  Unlike most immigrants more Italians went to South American instead of North America.

They didn’t want to be farmers.  Most Italians wanted to work in the cities and do manual labor, because this paid more.  They made some of the first skyscrapers, because they loved construction jobs. Even the women in Italian families worked to help out the family.  They did most of their work in the home to keep the family ties together.  Of course they did have their hands in other things as well including: sports, crime (mob), entertainment, politics and small businesses. They were least successful in politics because the lacked the education to be truly effective.


Al Capone (nicknamed “Scarface”) is still one of the most famous mobsters to date for the Italian mob.  He was born in Brooklyn to immigrant parents in 1899. He was made famous during Prohibition  by smuggling alcohol.  He was also made famous by gunning down 7 rival gang members on February 14, 1929. Now called the St. Valentines Day Massacre.   An was only caught because of tax evasion in 1931.


Digital History. 2013 June 2. “Italian Immigration”. [online] Accessed 2013 June 2

Biography: True Story. n.d. Al Capone. [online] Accessed 2013 June 2


3,250,000 Russians emigrated to America between 1820 and 1920. The first records of Russian emigrating to America is in 1747. The Russian orthodox church was established in Alaska in 1795. Interestingly, many Russians returned to Russian when the U.S. bought Alaska in 1867.


During the late 1900's, a surge of Russians emigrated to America. This was due to the massacre of Jews that occurred after Alexander II was executed in 1881.

Records indicate that more than 50% of Russians put down roots in Pennsylvania and New York. Because of the lack of skills, many resorted to low paying occupations in mines or factories doing manual labor. A large portion of Russians established themselves in the Lower East Side of New York.

In a scholarly periodical by Rebecca Joblonsky, the topic of Russian Jews in New York City. The cultural aspects of American Russians in unique in that since many Jewish people migrated to the U.S. because of persecution, they are a displaced people. As migrants living in New York, they had to acculturate themselves in a situation where they were again outsiders.


Works Cited.

Jablonsky, Rebecca. "Russian Jews And 'Gypsy Punks': The Performance Of Real And Imagined Cultural Identities Within A Transnational Migrant Group." Journal Of Popular Music Studies 24.1 (2012): 3-24. Academic Search Complete. Web. 9 June 2013.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s