Ethnic and Cultural Groups

Ancestors of all Americans came here from diverse locations, so we all have  immigrant roots. These experiences can be shared through legacy stories, which acknowledge that heritage and culture are rich aspects of personal and group identity. The actions, accomplishments and contributions recorded in these stories afford future generations knowledge, insight and inspiration. Using storytelling to communicate about ethnicity and culture broadens understanding, increases tolerance and heightens acceptance. Legacy stories also contribute to the telling of
 our nation’s history and are a key element in a comprehensive social studies education.

 Our program’s education resources are used in more than 2,000 schools and libraries nationwide and reinforce the commonalities that help unite, rather than divide, the American people. Individuals, families, schools and nonprofits participate in Americans All for free.  

Legacy stories about ethnic and cultural group members are housed and listed alphabetically by their last name on our Web-based Heritage Honor Roll. These stories also appear on the Americans All home pages of our Legacy Partners. Legacy Partners are groups, businesses and organizations that honor and respect diversity in their membership and support our education mission. Included in the Heritage Honor Roll and home pages are legacy stories about immigrants who helped shape America and their descendants who continue to do so. These stories are sometimes shared in multiple languages and can be included in more than one Legacy Partner home page.

As an aggregator of resources, we are continually expanding our database. To view a summary of the ethnic and cultural groups that are listed on our Legacy Partner landing page and our Heritage Honor Roll, click on this link or to to www.americansall.org/node/566357.

 

Legacy Stories from the Americans All Heritage Honor Roll

We are pleased to host and share these legacy stories created by honorees’ family, friends and associates. They, like us, appreciate that heritage and culture are an integral part of our nation's social fabric and want to help students participate effectively in our nation's economy, workforce and democracy.

Language
State
Last Name of Individual
First Name of Individual
Group name

Ancient Order of Hibernians "AOH" New Jersey (c.1836 - ?) Irish Fraternal Organization, American History

The Reformation that swept Europe in the 16th century was marked by conflicts over the practice of religion. Elizabeth I declared the Church of England the State religion, and although she considered Ireland part of her state, the Irish did not. As a result, Ireland became a battlefield in a campaign to reduce Catholic power. The persistence with which the Irish clung to their religion drove the Crown to extremes . . . 

AOH Division 8 and LAOH Division 8/9 New York (January 1967 - ?) Irish Fraternal Organization, AOH, LAOH

Suffolk County, Long Island, New York AOH Division 8 was organized in January 1967 by AOH NY State Organizer Jack Reynolds. Charter Officers were President Bob McGrory, Vice President Joe McCarthy, Secretary Bill Regan, Financial Secretary Ed Reynolds, Treasurer John Keane and Chaplain Father Sheridan. By November 1967, an enthusiastic group of ladies formed an Auxiliary with Nora Reynolds as President.

Ireland's Great Hunger New Jersey (c.1845 - c.1852) Social Studies Resource, Immigration, Famine, American History

There are only two major instances of population decline in modern times that did not result from military retaliation—the Holocaust in Germany and the Great Hunger in Ireland. Neither was a response to a threat, but rather to bigotry and greed. Yet, after every storm, no matter how devastating, there shines a bit of light—and the light that came after these unwarranted tragedies were the survivors who  . . . 

German Immigration to Texas Texas (c.1830 - ?) Ethnic and Culture Group, American History

The largest ethnic group in Texas derived directly from Europe was persons of German birth or descent. As early as 1850, they constituted more than 5 percent of the total Texas population, a proportion that remained constant through the remainder of the nineteenth century. Intermarriage has blurred ethnic lines, but the 1990 United States census revealed that 1,175,888 Texans . . . 

Angel Island Immigration Station California (January 21, 1910 - November 5, 1940) Chinese, Immigration Station, American History

Angel Island in San Francisco Bay was the location of a large and imposing government compound where immigrants seeking entry into the United States via Pacific routes were processed. Often referred to as the Ellis Island of the West, this one-mile-square state park is the largest island in San Francisco Bay. See the video, Island of Secret Memories.

Timeline of Events That Helped Shape Our Nation: The Peopling of America Maryland (January 1, 1600 - December 31, 1991) American History, Asian, Hispanic, Mexican, Native American, Puerto Rican, World History,

Traditionally, timelines focus on dates from only one nation, cultural group or perspective. This 414-page timeline, however, documents a confluence of peoples, cultures and ideologies that make up United States history. The emphasis is on broader periods, trends and cultural aspects of many groups while recognizing the significant role one individual or small group can play in society.

Summary of Americans All: Tools to Build a More Perfect Union (c.1986 - ?)

Today, Americans All remains true to its mission to honor the contributions that all immigrants, both forced and voluntary, have made—and continue to make—to our nation. A second goal is to help schools and small businesses prosper. Our 35-year-old nonprofit foundation’s education resources have been used in more than 2,000 schools and libraries nationwide, helping to highlight the values that unite, rather than divide, the American people.

Americans All Social Studies Resources (October 4, 1985 - )

More than three decades ago, our nonprofit education foundation created classroom resources in history and civics, which are used today in more than 2,000 schools and libraries. Schools can use the Americans All storytelling tool and supplemental social studies information to educate students about the contributions that different ethnic and cultural groups made—and still make—to our nation. Schools, families and students participate for free.

Racism101 (? - ?) African American, Anti-Miscegenation Laws, Black, Civil Rights, Colored, Discrimination, Intermarriage, Jail, Jim Crow, Lynching, Mobs, Negro, Racism, Reconstruction, Race, Riots, Segregation, Separation, White Supremacy

To start a serious conversation about institutional or systemic racism, we must first identify its driving forces and expose the continuation of these cornerstone beliefs (see below) in modern society. Our goal is to reinforce the notion that differences make us human, but respect for one another—a key to getting past stereotypes or politics—is the glue that makes communities work.

Mollie Arline Kirkland Bailey Texas (November 1844 - October 2, 1918) Circus Musician, Singer, War-Time Nurse, Philanthropist

Mollie Bailey, "Circus Queen of the Southwest," the daughter of William and Mary Arline Kirkland, was born on a plantation near Mobile, Alabama. Sources differ regarding her birthdate. As a young woman, she eloped with James A. (Gus) Bailey, who played the cornet in his father's circus band and was married in March 1858. With Mollie's sister Fanny and Gus's brother Alfred, the young couple formed the Bailey Family Troupe . . .

Polly Bemis Idaho (September 11, 1853 - November 6, 1933) Chinese American Pioneer, Historic Building

Polly Bemis became a legend after her death when her story became a biographical novel and was fictionalized in 1991, by Ruthanne Lum McCunn in the movie, Thousand Pieces of Gold. As such, some details of her story may be tied to folklore, but one thing is clear. As Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus said in 1987 . . . "She is the foremost pioneer on the rugged Salmon River.”

Polly Bemis Idaho (September 11, 1853 - November 6, 1933) Chinese American Pioneer

Polly Bemis (born Lalu Nathoy) was sold by her father for two bags of seed to a group of bandits in northern China when he fell on hard economic times because of the famine of 1871. She was then resold into a form of sexual slavery, smuggled into the United States by a slave trader heading for America.

Polly Bemis (or Gong Heng -- 恭亨) Idaho (September 11, 1853 - November 6, 1933) Chinese American Pioneer, Ruthanne Lum McCunn, Priscilla Wegars

Because she has been the subject of many articles and several books, including the best-seller by Ruthanne Lum McCunn and a fine children's book by Priscilla Wegars, Polly is one of the best-known of all Chinese women in Northwestern history.  Exceptionally self-reliant and adaptable, she was also unusual in that she married a white man in a period when East-West marriages in that direction were very rare. 

Frank Blaichman New York (December 11, 1922 - December 27, 2018) Poland, Jewish Partisan Platoon Commander, World War II, Author, JPEF

Born in the small town of Kamionka, Poland, on December 11, 1922, Frank Blaichman was sixteen years old when the German army invaded his country in September 1939. The several hundred Jews of Kamionka had lived a peaceful life prior to the invasion, experiencing few incidents of antisemitism. Frank’s grandmother owned a grocery store, and his father made a living buying grain from farmers in the area, selling it in nearby towns and in the city of Lublin.

Gertrude "Gertie" Boyarski New York (October 1, 1922 - September 19, 2012) Poland, Jewish Partisan, Holocaust Survivor, Order of Lenin, JPEF, World War II

“Was it possible that I lived through that?” asks Gertrude Boyarski, referring to her experiences during World War II. “Sometimes I say, ‘Was it only a nightmare, or was it true?’” Her family’s hardships began in 1939 when war came to Poland. Gertrude was sixteen years old when her country was attacked from the west by Germany, and then from the east by the Soviet Union. Her hometown of Derechin . . .

Honorable Brendan Francis Boyle Pennsylvania (February 6, 1977 - ?) Irish, Ireland, Catholic, AOH, Politician, US Congressman

Brendan Francis Boyle, born February 6, 1977 in the Olney neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA, is a Democratic member of the U.S House of Representatives. representing, since 2019, Pennsylvania's 2nd Congressional District. This district includes most of the northeastern fourth of Philadelphia. From 2015-19, he represented the 13th district. Prior to that, he was a member of the PA House of Representatives . . . 

Princess Catherine Caradja Texas (January 28, 1893 - May 26, 1993) Romania, Romanian Expatriate, Humanitarian, Philanthropist.

Princess Catherine Caradja (Caragea in Romanian), a celebrated Romanian expatriate who spent much of her later life in the Hill Country of Texas, daughter of Princess Irene Cantacuzene and Prince Radu Kretzulescu, was born in Bucharest, Romania. A pawn in a financial struggle between her father and her mother's family, the princess was abducted at the age of three by her father and hidden in England.

Ellen "Nellie" Cashman Arizona (c.1845 - January 25, 1925) Irish, Catholic, Entrepreneur, Prospector, Missionary, Alaska Mining Hall of Fame

American western music and Irish music have often been compared and that is due to the many Irish who settled the American West. From lawmen to bad men they color America’s history.  There was even a well-known set of outlaw brothers who were named after Irish patriots, but there were also Irish business people and pioneers and they helped shape the destiny of a wilderness.

Henri Castro Texas (July 1786 - November 31, 1865) Portugal, Texas Empresario, Diplomat, World History

Henri Castro, empresario (a land agent or land contractor, under the system used by the Mexican government as a means of colonization) and founder of Castro's colony, was born in the department of Landes, France, in July 1786. His family, descended from Portuguese Jews who had fled to France after the inception of the Spanish Inquisition, occupied a position of wealth and status in southwestern France.

René Robert "Sieur de La Salle" Cavelier Texas (November 22, 1643 - March 19, 1687) France, French, Explorer, American History

René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, explorer, was born in St. Herbland parish, Rouen, France, the son of Catherine Geeset and Jean Cavelier. Cavelier was a wealthy wholesale merchant and "Master of the Brotherhood of Notre-Dame." There were two other sons, the Abbé Jean Cavelier and Nicolas Cavelier, a lawyer, who died rather young, and a daughter, who married Nicolas Crevel.