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Since the 1980s, there has been a surge in immigration to the United States from the African continent. African immigrants represent various nations, cultures, languages, and religions. Their immigration experiences are also very diverse and Africans leave their home countries and immigrate to the United States for various reasons. African immigrants come to the United States by several methods including work/student visa, refugee resettlement, family reunification, political asylum, and the U.S. Diversity Lottery. By whatever method they come, African immigrants are building new lives, new communities, and new hopes all over the United States, including Philadelphia.
Perspective on Events
How does continuity and change within the United States history influence your community today?
How has social disagreement and collaboration been beneficial to Pennsylvania society?
State and local history can offer an individual, discerning judgment in public and personal life, supply examples for living, and thinking about one’s self in the dimensions of time and space.
World history looks for common patterns that emerge across all cultures. Long-term continuities and discontinuities in the structures of societies provide vital contributions to contemporary issues.
History demonstrates the diverse cultural heritage of many peoples throughout the world.
Analyze the interaction of cultural, economic, geographic, political, and social relations for a specific time and place.
Apply the theme of continuity and change in Pennsylvania history and relate the benefits and drawbacks of your example.
Summarize how conflict and compromise in world history impact contemporary society.
Background Material for Teacher
Extended Lives: The African Immigrant in Philadelphia A Balch Institute Community Profile
Extended Lives by Leigh Swigart
Resources on the African Immigrant Community
Directory of African Community Resources
End of Unit Assessment
Students will each be assigned a different African country to complete an “Immigration to Philadelphia” Profile. The following must be addressed in the profile:
Brief history of the African country
How conflict and cooperation has affected this country: Has conflict in the nation been a main cause of people emigrating from this country to another country?
Patterns of immigration from this country focusing on cause and effect
Summary of the facts about the Philadelphian/Pennsylvanian community of immigrants from this country: What role do they play in the social, political, and economic development of Pennsylvania? How has the immigrant community in Philadelphia/Pennsylvania changed over time? What associations has this community formed? What has been there role in the community? How have they assimilated/kept aspects of their culture?
At least 4 images
The integration of a quote from an oral history of an African immigrant from this country
Plans in this Unit
African Immigration: False Portrayals in the Media Diversity Lottery
African Immigrant Family Case Studies
PA Core Standards
This project was funded in part by the William Penn Foundation.
About the Author
These lessons were created by Stephanie Felix and Katherine Wilson. Updated for SAS by Danielle J. Gross, Education Intern, Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Teacher Advisory Committee for the Project:
Alice Asbury, J.S. Jenks School, Philadelphia, PA
Asia Austin Colter, Imhotep Institute Charter High School, Philadelphia, PA
Karen V. Davis, Henry C. Lea Middle School, Philadelphia, PA
Melvin Garrison, Office of Curriculum Support, School District of Philadelphia
Pamula Hart, Myers Elementary School, Cheltenham, PA
Dr. Carolyn L. Holmes, African and African American Studies Department, School District of Philadelphia
Adolphus Jacobs, Preparatory Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
Tanya Kunevich, Lamberton Middle School, Philadelphia, PA
Margaret H. Lonzetta, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
Patricia Mitchell Doe, Tilden Middle School, Philadelphia, PA
Dianne Partee, African and African American Studies Department, School District of Philadelphia
Stephanie Joy Tisdale, Central High School, Philadelphia, PA
Stephen Togba, Imhotep Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania
Extended Lives: The African Immigrant Experience in Philadelphia
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