Film: New York: A Documentary Film and The Jewish Americans
June 14, 2018
June screenings in the Bank of America Free Thursday Film Series initiate Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on our Immigration Experience. This six-week series is a project of City Lore, a cultural center for the arts and humanities based in New York City. It is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of NEH’s Community Conversations initiative, and features documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions designed to encourage an informed discussion of immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history.
The National Hispanic Cultural Center is one of 24 organizations selected nationwide to participate in the Becoming American project. The scholar/moderator for the screenings and discussions at the Center is Dr. Gabriel Sanchez, Professor of Political Science at the University of New Mexico. The theme for Unit One, presented on June 14, is “The Century of Immigration.”
Episode 4, “The Power and the People,” of New York: A Documentary Film examines the great wave of immigration that began in the late 19th century, tripled New York’s population, and transformed the city and the nation. On camera, renowned historians like David McCullough and writers like Pete Hamill describe the new tide of humanity from southern and eastern Europe—Italians, Poles, Turks, Hungarians, Ukrainians, Greeks—their reasons for migrating, their passage through Ellis Island, their life on the Lower East Side, and their role in transforming America into an industrial nation.
2004; directed by Ric Burns; 30 minutes; English; not rated.
Episode 2, “A World of Their Own,” from the award-winning series The Jewish Americans explores in depth the story of one of the groups that made up the great wave of immigration described above. Fleeing poverty and oppression in Eastern Europe, over two million Jews flooded into America, drawn by the promise of religious freedom and economic opportunity. Many migrated across the U.S., but the majority created a new life in Manhattan’s slums. Struggling to adapt their traditions to their new life, they were aided by new ethnic institutions such as The Forward, a newspaper which devoted columns to teaching newcomers American mores, in often unintentionally humorous ways.
2008; directed by David Grubin; English; 30 minutes; not rated.
Free ticketed event; tickets available one hour before show