Social History for Every Classroom


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Immigrants' Contributions to the Nation (1939)

This 1939 illustrated map of the United States appeared in a guidebook that accompanied a series of radio broadcasts that highlighted various immigrant groups and their work in the nation. The radio series and accompanying guide were produced by the Department of the Interior Office of Education and the Works Progress Administration. The Radio Projects division hired relief workers to develop new radio educational radio programs. The illustration depicted work done by racial and ethnic groups, past and present, in areas throughout the United States. Although selective, the map demonstrated how many occupations were ethnically segregated. For example, in the western U.S., Chinese and Irish immigrants are drawn working on the Transcontinental Railroad. Industries including lumbering, mining, ranching, and cotton are highlighted. The illustration's creator, William Norman Thompson, wrote that these groups "have built a nation."

Source | Thompson, William Norman, "Americans All, Immigrants All," 1939, University of Minnesota Libraries, Immigration History Research Center Archives,
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Cite This document | “Immigrants' Contributions to the Nation (1939) ,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed September 24, 2023,

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