Thursday, May 23, 2019

What I'm Reading: May, 2019



The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America by [Okrent, Daniel]
On May 24, 1924, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge signed into law the Immigration Act of 1924 after the legislation sailed through both houses of Congress.  The Immigration Act of 1924 was not the first legislative effort to limit immigration—the nation passed it first immigration law in 1875—but the 1924 law was more extreme than anything that preceded it.

The 1924 law banned all immigration from Asia.  It also limited the total annual number of immigrants from outside the Western Hemisphere to 165,000–a number less than half the 357,803 people who entered the US in 1923.  165,000 was an 80% reduction from the pre-World War I average and far below the peak year of European immigration of 1907 when 1,285,349 persons entered the country.  The impact of the law was immediate:  in 1923, an average of 20 ships docked at Ellis Island where 70% of immigrants entered the U.S.; in 1924 that number dropped to 2.

But the 1924 legislation was not about numbers.  Arguments in favor of previous immigration legislation focused on employment and economic numbers; but the arguments for the 1924 legislation were biological. 

In the first decades of the 20th century the pseudoscience of eugenics, imported from England, swept through the United States becoming a staple of the nation’s most eminent academic and scientific institutions—and of the nation’s political agenda of both progressives and reactionary activists.  The basic premise of eugenics is that some races of inherently superior to others.  Eugenics promised Americans that selective breeding and controlled socialization would rapidly result in the development of a superior American race—and warned that mingling with “inferior races” would not only slow down that development but would cause Americans to the ranks of what eugenicists referred to as the mongrel races. 

The word race in the early 20th century was used different from contemporary usage.  If you look at the census records from that period, you will see entries like English, German, Italian and Polish for race.  And the “racial” make-up of immigrants coming to the United States prior to the 1924 law had become predominantly Italian, Greek, Polish, Eastern European and Jewish—all deemed inferior races by American eugenicist.  American researchers “proved” their inferiority and the danger they posed to American racial development and society with faulty and culturally-biased IQ tests that asked them questions about obscure American baseball players and abstruse facts of American history that the descendants of Mayflower passengers would not know. 

Legislators knew, however, that the cap on total immigration and the ban on Asian immigrants were not sufficient to ensure that so-called superior races entered the country.  Therefore, the 1924 law also set country quotas for immigrants from Europe.

Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, 1902
(Library of Congress(
Quotas has been implemented before.  The Emergency Quota Act, also known as the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921 (enacted to stem the influx of Jews fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe) restricted the number of immigrants admitted from any country annually to 3% of the number of residents from that same country living in the United States as of the U.S. Census of 1910 (although professionals were to be admitted without regard to their country of origin).  This meant that Northern European countries had a higher quota and were more likely to be admitted to the U.S. than people from Eastern Europe.

The 1924 law changed the quota formula to 2% of the number of residents from that same country living in the United States as of the U.S. Census of 1890.   Immigration from every European country declined.  German, English and Irish immigration declined by about 19%.  The greatest impact, however, was on the “inferior races” from Southern and Eastern Europe who had not immigrated to the U.S. in any significant numbers before 1890.    Immigration from Italy, for instance, dropped by about 90%.  Before 1924, 70% of immigrants to the U.S. were people from Southern and Eastern Europe.  The Immigration Act.s quotas lowered that to 11%.
 
Eugenics gave respectability to America’s uneasy relationship with the words of Emma Lazarus carved on the base of the Statue of Liberty—and the Immigration Act of 1924 was designed, and as Henry Curran, the Commission of Immigration for the Port of New York stated in 1925, to ensure that future newcomers would be the kind we would be glad to welcome.  In 1925 Curran wrote: 

Today there is not one immigrant in a thousand who does not dress, walk, and generally look so much like an American that you will believe they are all really Americans  (The New Immigrant).

In 1929, on the eve of the refugee crisis created by the Nazi rise to power in Germany, U.S. immigration quotas were adjusted—downward.  The quota formula was changed to one-sixth of 1% of the 1920 census figures with the overall immigration limit reduced to 150,000.  The law contained no provisions for refugees, and the U.S. refused to modify the law to aid the flight of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.  

The only significant attempt to pass a law to aid refugees came in 1939.  Democratic Senator Robert Wagner of New York and Republican Congresswoman Edith Rogers of Massachusetts introduced legislation  that would allow 20,000 German refugee children under the age of 14 into the United States over two years outside of the immigration quotas. The legislation never made it out of committee for a vote.   







  • About Me:  Kevin P. Dincher

    I have a 40-year track record that includes organization and strategic consulting with non-profits, both big and small, as well as small family-owned business and Fortune 500 global technology companies.  My experience also includes work in education, counseling psychology and crisis management, program and operations management, nonprofit management and consulting, and human resources and education.

    Although I currently work primarily as an organization development consultant, one of the things that energizes me is learning new things and sharing what I learn - and not just career-related things about organizational change and development.  I create exciting and enriching educational opportunities for adults that incorporate psychology, philosophy, history, historical anthropology and more—with a perspective that “everything’s related.”  My broad background in psychology, philosophy and theology along with my deep interest in history, sociology, politics and organizational systems have given me the perspective that nothing ever really happens in isolation.  Ideas, decisions, actions and events all occur in a web of other interrelated ideas, decisions, actions and events.  I enjoy pulling connecting threads to see where they lead – and if you don’t come away from my classes and lectures asking more questions than you started with, I haven’t done my job!





    • Thursday, March 7, 2019

      What I'm Reading: March 2019

      March is Women's History Month, commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history - and March 8th is International Women's Day.  

      Therefore, I have a book by Cokie Roberts on the docket for this month. 


      Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868


      When the Civil War began, Washington, D.C. was a small Southern town that was quickly transformed into an immense Union army camp and later a hospital.  Many Southern women chose to leave a city for safer (and more sanitary) locations.

      But many women  stayed and joined the Union cause.  And women moved to Washington to work as nurses, supply organizers, relief workers and journalists - and also as munitions workers in highly flammable arsenals.    Some put their sewing skills into service  at The Navy Yard - which was traditionally "Men Only"- to sew canvas gunpowder bags for the troops.  

      Cokie Roberts tells the stories of these women and their increasing independence, their political empowerment, and their indispensable role in keeping the Union unified through the war.  The war not only changed Washington; it also changed the place of women in America.

      Also by Cokie Roberts and worth reading:



      About Me:  Kevin P. Dincher

      I have a 40-year track record that includes organization and strategic consulting with non-profits, both big and small, as well as small family-owned business and Fortune 500 global technology companies.  My experience also includes work in education, counseling psychology and crisis management, program and operations management, nonprofit management and consulting, and human resources and education.

      Although I currently work primarily as an organization development consultant, one of the things that energizes me is learning new things and sharing what I learn - and not just career-related things about organizational change and development.  I create exciting and enriching educational opportunities for adults that incorporate psychology, philosophy, history, historical anthropology and more—with a perspective that “everything’s related.”  My broad background in psychology, philosophy and theology along with my deep interest in history, sociology, politics and organizational systems have given me the perspective that nothing ever really happens in isolation.  Ideas, decisions, actions and events all occur in a web of other interrelated ideas, decisions, actions and events.  I enjoy pulling connecting threads to see where they lead – and if you don’t come away from my classes and lectures asking more questions than you started with, I haven’t done my job!




      Upcoming Lecture: Four Roads in the Garden of Beasts





      This August I will be presenting my lecture 

      Four Roads in the Garden of Beasts:  Appeasement, Collaboration, Resistance and Dissent  in Nazi Germany


      through the CSU-East Bay Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in the San Francisco Bay Area.



      In the Garden of Beasts is Eric Larson’s 2011 book about U.S. Ambassador William Dodd and his family’s time in Germany from 1933 to 1937.  The Garden of Beasts is a loose translation of the Tiergarden, Berlin’s version of Central Park, around which much of the political and diplomatic action of Larson’s book takes place – and is, of course, a metaphor for the general state of Germany in the 1930s and 1940s. 
      U.S. Ambassador William Dodd and his family
      arriving in Hamburg in July 1933

      When the Dodds arrived in Germany, storm troopers were beating American tourists on the streets and Jews were increasingly the target of brutal violence and tightening social restrictions.  Dodd arrived in Berlin holding the Antisemitic notions typical of America at the time—expressed rather simply by his daughter, Martha (who unbeknownst to her father was a Soviet spy), “We sort of don’t like the Jews anyway.”  But first-hand experience of the Nazis convinced Dodd they were an increasing threat, and he resigned in protest over his inability to mobilize the Roosevelt administration, particularly the State Department, to counter the Nazis prior to World War II.

      But how did others in Germany and abroad respond to the Garden of the Beasts?  They took one of the 4 roads:  appeasement, collaboration, resistance and dissent.  This lecture will take a short drive down each of those roads.

      Topics and Some Related Reading

      Fascism 101:  We will take a very brief look at Fascism and the social, economic and political conditions in Germany at the time of Hitler’s rise to power. 
      Fascism:  A Warning (Madeleine Albright)

      Appeasement:  In an international context, appeasement is the diplomatic policy of making concessions to an aggressive power in order to avoid conflict – and is most often applied to the foreign policy of the British governments of Prime Ministers Ramsay MacDonald, Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain towards Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.  But others – including the leaders of the Weimar Republic and political leaders in the USA—chose the path of appeasement in dealing with Hitler. 

      Collaboration:  Collaboration is defined as cooperation between elements of the population of a defeated state and representatives of the victorious power.  Within nations occupied by the Axis Powers in World War II, some citizens and organizations knowingly collaborated with the Axis Powers. 
      Sarah’sKey (Tatiana de Rosnay)

      Resistance:  Resistance movements were rare in Germany, but during World War II occurred in every occupied country by a variety of means ranging from non-cooperation, disinformation and propaganda to hiding crashed pilots and hiding Jews and to outright warfare and the recapturing to towns.  In many countries, resistance movements were referred to as The Underground. 
      Outwitting the Gestapo (Luci Aubrac)

      Dissent:  Although it usually resulted in imprisonment or death, publicly expressing non-agreement or opposition to the philosophy and actions of the Nazi regime did occur—particularly among dissenting religious leaders like pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen. 



      About Me:  Kevin P. Dincher

      I have a 40-year track record that includes organization and strategic consulting with non-profits, both big and small, as well as small family-owned business and Fortune 500 global technology companies.  My experience also includes work in education, counseling psychology and crisis management, program and operations management, nonprofit management and consulting, and human resources and education.


      Although I currently work primarily as an organization development consultant, one of the things that energizes me is learning new things and sharing what I learn - and not just career-related things about organizational change and development.  I create exciting and enriching educational opportunities for adults that incorporate psychology, philosophy, history, historical anthropology and more—with a perspective that “everything’s related.”  My broad background in psychology, philosophy and theology along with my deep interest in history, sociology, politics and organizational systems have given me the perspective that nothing ever really happens in isolation.  Ideas, decisions, actions and events all occur in a web of other interrelated ideas, decisions, actions and events.  I enjoy pulling connecting threads to see where they lead – and if you don’t come away from my classes and lectures asking more questions than you started with, I haven’t done my job!


      Tuesday, February 5, 2019

      What I'm Reading: February 2019

      My February Tradition

      Because January ends with the United Nations designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day on the 27th, every year I slip into February reading something related.  But February is Black History Month, and so I always include a work on the lives or history of African-Americans.


      Goldsmith, director of classical music programming for XM Satellite Radio in Washington, D.C. and former host of National Public Radio's Performance Today, tells the story of his musician parents and their participation in   the Jüdischer Kulturbund, an all-Jewish cultural association maintained by the Nazis (1933-1941) for propaganda purposes.  Goldsmith is also the author of Alex's Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance, the story Alex, his grandfather, journey with more than 900 other Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany aboard the St. Louis.  Turned away from Cuba, the United States and Canada., the St. Louis returned to Germany where Alex and many others were later caught in Nazi roundups of the Jews in occupied countries.

      Ida:  A Sword Among Lions by Paula Gidding

      Ida B. Wells (1862-1931), born a slave in Mississippi, began her activist career by refusing to leave a first-class ladies' car on a Memphis railway and rose to lead the nation's first campaign against lynching.  An investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement,  she was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She arguably became the most famous black woman in America during a life that was centered on combating prejudice and violence.




      About Me:  Kevin P. Dincher

      I have a 40-year track record that includes organization and strategic consulting with non-profits, both big and small, as well as small family-owned business and Fortune 500 global technology companies.  My experience also includes work in education, counseling psychology and crisis management, program and operations management, nonprofit management and consulting, and human resources and education.


      Although I currently work primarily as an organization development consultant, one of the things that energizes me is learning new things and sharing what I learn - and not just career-related things about organizational change and development.  I create exciting and enriching educational opportunities for adults that incorporate psychology, philosophy, history, historical anthropology and more—with a perspective that “everything’s related.”  My broad background in psychology, philosophy and theology along with my deep interest in history, sociology, politics and organizational systems have given me the perspective that nothing ever really happens in isolation.  Ideas, decisions, actions and events all occur in a web of other interrelated ideas, decisions, actions and events.  I enjoy pulling connecting threads to see where they lead – and if you don’t come away from my classes and lectures asking more questions than you started with, I haven’t done my job!



      Wednesday, January 16, 2019

      Upcoming Presentations (01/25/2019) - Nonprofit Management



      UNLV
      Division of Educational Outreach
      Continuing Education

      An Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector

      Friday, January 25, 2019  -  9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
      United Way of Southern Nevada
      5830 W. Flamingo Rd  - Las Vegas, NV  89013

      Whether you are heading a fledgling nonprofit, have just started a job at a local nonprofit, have accepted a board position, or are investigating the sector for employment or consulting, this introduction will ensure you get off on the right foot.  Discover why the sector exists, how nonprofits focus on their responsibilities to the community, and how they measure success in terms of impact delivered rather than stockholder profits.


      Friday, January 25, 2019  -  11 AM to 12:30 PM
      United Way of Southern Nevada
      5830 W. Flamingo Rd  - Las Vegas, NV  89013

      A healthy, effective board is central to achieving your nonprofit's mission.  Attendees will be educated on the legal and fiduciary responsibilities of board members, create a framework for nonprofit leadership, and understand the importance of an engaged and focused board.  This session is a great orientation for any board and its members, but will particularly benefit new board members, new organizations or organizations without paid staff.

      Register Online






      Tuesday, January 8, 2019

      What I'm Reading: January, 2019

      Famous Women in my Family Tree

      Something a little different for the new year.  Many of you know that I have been busy working on my genealogy.  Over the past few years I've enjoyed reading biographies of some of the famous women that I've discovered in my family tree, and I'm starting the year out with a biography of Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots (partially because there is a new movie out about her).  Therefore, thought I'd also share a few of the  books on famous women from my family tree that I've read and think worth spending some time with.

      Queen of Scots:  The True Life of Mary Stuart  by John Guy

      My 3rd cousin 13x removed was Queen of Scots from 1542 (when she was 6 days old) until she was executed in 1567 by Queen Elizabeth I, my 2nd cousin 14x removed.  This is the book that the current film "Mary, Queen of Scots" is based on.  The movie is worth seeing (even though it takes some artistic license with the historical facts.

      Marie Antoinette
      Queen of Fashion:  What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber (2006)

      Not as frivolous as the title sounds.  My 4th cousin 9x removed, Maria Antonia von Habsburg (1755-1793) - better know in history as Marie Antoinette - developed her reputation for fashionable excess, and Weber explains the political controversies that her clothing provoked.  As queen, Marie Antoinette used stunning, often extreme costumes to project an image of power and wage war against her enemies. Gradually, however, she began to lose her hold on the French when she started to adopt "unqueenly" outfits (the provocative chemise) that, surprisingly, would be adopted by the revolutionaries who executed her. 

      Joan by Anne R. Bailey (Forgotten Women of History Series)

      This is the story of Joan de Geneville (1286-1356), my 21st great grandmother and wife of one of England's most infamous traitor,  Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March.  After the deal of her father in 1292, Joan became one of the greatest English heiresses of her generation.  In a time when eomen were subservient, she was raised by her mother to command and became a formidable women in her own right.

      Daughters of the Winter Queen: Four Remarkable Sisters, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Enduring Legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots by Nancy Goldstone

      The Winter Queen, Elizabeth Stuart, the daughter of King James I, granddaughter of Mary, Queen of Scots, and my 5th cousin 11x removed, reigned as Queen Consort of Bohemia for just one winter and was deposed in events that sparked the Thirty Years War that devastated Europe while turning France into a continental powerhouse.

      The Maid and the Queen:  The Secret History of Joan of Arc by Nancy Goldstone
      Joan of Arc
      (depicted in a 1505 manuscript)

      Yolande of Aragon, my 18th great grandmother and one of the most powerful women of the Middle Ages, was a throne claimant and titular queen regnant of Aragon, titular queen consort of Naples, Duchess of Anjou, Countess of Provence, and regent of Provence during the minority of her son.  Joan of Arc (no known relationship) claimed that it was the hand of God that was responsible for her success in battle - but it may also have been the hand of Yolande of Aragon.


      The story of mother-and-daughter queens Catherine de' Medici (my 2nd cousin 15x removed and Marguerite de Valois (my 2nd cousin 14x removed), whose wildly divergent personalities and turbulent relationship changed the shape of their tempestuous and dangerous century.


      Four provocative sisters—Marguerite (my 22nd great grandmother), Eleanor (my 22nd great grandmother), Sanchia (my 23rd great aunt), and Beatrice (my 22nd great grandmother) of Provence—rose from near obscurity to become the most coveted and powerful women in Europe, each becoming ruler of  a European power—France, England, Germany and Sicily.  


      My 16th great grandmother, Caterina Sforza, was a brilliant and fearless ruler, a strategist to match Machiavelli and a warrior who stood toe to toe with the Borgias.  


      About Me:  Kevin P. Dincher

      I have a 40-year track record that includes organization and strategic consulting with non-profits, both big and small, as well as small family-owned business and Fortune 500 global technology companies.  My experience also includes work in education, counseling psychology and crisis management, program and operations management, nonprofit management and consulting, and human resources and education.


      Although I currently work primarily as an organization development consultant, one of the things that energizes me is learning new things and sharing what I learn - and not just career-related things about organizational change and development.  I create exciting and enriching educational opportunities for adults that incorporate psychology, philosophy, history, historical anthropology and more—with a perspective that “everything’s related.”  My broad background in psychology, philosophy and theology along with my deep interest in history, sociology, politics and organizational systems have given me the perspective that nothing ever really happens in isolation.  Ideas, decisions, actions and events all occur in a web of other interrelated ideas, decisions, actions and events.  I enjoy pulling connecting threads to see where they lead – and if you don’t come away from my classes and lectures asking more questions than you started with, I haven’t done my job!




      Tuesday, December 4, 2018

      What I'm Reading: November/December, 2018




      November was very busy with travels, celebrating Thanksgiving and kicking off the December holiday season, and I wasn't able to do a November update.  But busy or not, I still read.  Here's the one I read leading up to Thanksgiving and one to kick off the Christmas holiday season.

      Mayflower:  A Story of Courage, Community and War
           Nathaniel Philbrick (2007)

      Although he glosses over the difference between the Pilgrims and Puritans who colonized New England, Philbrick presents a nuanced history of the complicated relationships between Native Americans and the first English settlers.  That complicated relationship resulted in King Philip's War (1675-78) which is considered by many to be the greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth-century New England.  The economy of the Plymouth and Rhode Island colonies were all but ruined, and both the English and Native American populations were decimated - with captive Native Americans shipped to the Caribbean as slaves.  

      The Man Who Invented Christmas:  How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescured His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits
           Les Standiford (2008) 

      Last year's film "The Man Who Invented Christmas" was enjoyable and worth seeing - but this book is a much more serious biography of Charles Dickens and - part history, part literary analysis - is very different from the film.  Standiford explains Dickens's rise to fame and his declining popularity before A Christmas Carol while giving insights into the 19th century publishing industry.


      Recently Read and Recommended

      Leadership:  In Turbulent Times
           Doris Kearns Goodwin, 2018

      Fear
           Bob Woodward, 2018

      Grant
           Ron Chernow, 2017

      The Murder of the Century: 
           Paul Collins, 2011

           Helen Rappaport, 2018

           Benjamin Carter Hett, 2018



      About Me:  Kevin P. Dincher

      I have a 40-year track record that includes organization and strategic consulting with non-profits, both big and small, as well as small family-owned business and Fortune 500 global technology companies.  My experience also includes work in education, counseling psychology and crisis management, program and operations management, nonprofit management and consulting, and human resources and education.




      Although I currently work primarily as an organization development consultant, one of the things that energizes me is learning new things and sharing what I learn - and not just career-related things about organizational change and development.  I create exciting and enriching educational opportunities for adults that incorporate psychology, philosophy, history, historical anthropology and more—with a perspective that “everything’s related.”  My broad background in psychology, philosophy and theology along with my deep interest in history, sociology, politics and organizational systems have given me the perspective that nothing ever really happens in isolation.  Ideas, decisions, actions and events all occur in a web of other interrelated ideas, decisions, actions and events.  I enjoy pulling connecting threads to see where they lead – and if you don’t come away from my classes and lectures asking more questions than you started with, I haven’t done my job!



      What I'm Reading: May, 2019

      The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of Americ...