SALEM — On Wednesday, January 16, from 6 to 8 p.m., The House of the Seven Gables presents the second in a timely and thought-provoking series of six Community Conversations on current immigration issues against the backdrop of America’s immigration history.
The evening begins with the screening of a Kim M. Snyder documentary, “Welcome to Shelbyville,” set in a small Tennessee town in the heart of America’s Bible Belt. The residents of Shelbyville, both white and African American, must struggle with how to best integrate with a growing Latino and Muslim population. The local Tyson’s corporation brings hundreds of Somali refugees of Muslim faith to work in its chicken processing plant, a challenge for a mostly Christian community.
Scholar Elizabeth Duclos-Orsello, Ph.D., will lead a discussion at the conclusion of the screening. The evening’s presentation is open to the public and it is free of charge.
The Gables is one of 32 sites around the country to present this six-part series that was conceived and organized by City Lore in collaboration with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience. The series is funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Both Salem State University and the North Shore Community Development Coalition have partnered with The Gables to help make this series possible.
“The idea behind the series is to provide opportunities for a wide range of people to come together to understand the dynamic and complicated histories of people,” says Dr. Duclos-Orsello. “We want to have structured, civic and civil dialogues using the documentary films as a springboard.”
Duclos-Orsello is a scholar of American and New England Studies with an expertise in immigration and ethnic history, social history, community K-12 outreach and museum education. She is professor and chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies and she is coordinator of American Studies at Salem State University. She has facilitated scores of conversations where sensitivity and civility determine the baseline for safe and productive dialogues.
To register for one or more of the Becoming American Community Conversations at The Gables, visit www.7gables.org/events, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-306-7001.
The ‘Becoming American’ Community Conversation schedule is as follows:
January 16 — Promise and Prejudice
Film: “Welcome to Shelbyville”
February 6 — Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturation
Film: “The New Americans — The Nigerians”
March 6 — Help Wanted? Immigration and Work
Film: Destination America, “The Golden Door”
April 3 — Family and Community
Film: “My American Girls”
May 1 — Immigration and Popular Culture
Film: “The Search for General Tso”