Virtual Tenement Talk

Virtual Tenement Talk – Three Historians Walk Into A Saloon: 1924

Tenement Talk - Three Historians Walk into a Saloon: 1924


When: Thursday, November 30, 2023, 6:30 - 7:30 pm ET

Event Location: YouTube Live

Cost: Suggested Donation

*Note: This event was previously scheduled for Tuesday, November 28th.

Join us on November 30* on YouTube Live for a discussion on the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, the most comprehensive immigration restriction to date and the first immigration law to explicitly exclude Europeans. Between 1880 and 1924, 23 million immigrants entered the country, and New York’s population jumped from 1 million to over 5 million. The primary sources of immigration to NYC were Italy and Russia. But in 1921 and 1924, Congress established national origin quotas, ending an era of immigration.

Professor Mae Ngai looks at the long-term legal ramifications and engages in conversation with Eric Goldstein and Maddalena Marinari on the law’s impact on the Eastern European Jewish and Italian immigrants of New York’s tenements. What impact did this law have on those immigrants already in the country? What did this law say about who could be American?

While this program is free, you can donate to support future programming from the Tenement Museum here

Three Historians Walk Into a Saloon is a three-part virtual Tenement Talk Series. Set in our 19th-century recreated lager beer saloon, where people gathered to read newspapers and debate the headlines, this series features today’s leading historians reliving some of the topics discussed long ago and delving into important turning points in our country’s history.

What are the different ways amendments and laws changed ideas of what it meant to be American? Who was included and who was excluded? Whether discussing the 15th Amendment, the Chinese Exclusion Act, or the 1924 Johnson-Reed Act, we’ll examine the laws’ impacts on the nation, and also how they were received by the Irish, Black, Italian, Jewish, German, Italian, Chinese and Puerto Rican residents of our NYC tenements.

Award-winning historian Mae Ngai, Professor of History and Asian American Studies at Columbia University, hosts a rotating set of colleagues for rousing conversations. While the conversations focus on different moments in the past, they are animated by present-day questions. In a recent Atlantic article, Professor Ngai observed: “Americans are still struggling over competing versions of what this country should be.” This series looks at past debates, analyzing past struggles to gain insight on today’s questions. We look forward to addressing your comments and questions as well!

Let us know you plan to attend! 

This program is supported, in part, with public funds from the National Park Service and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by Con Edison. It is also sponsored by a Humanities New York Action Grant.

Can’t make it? This program will continue to be available on our YouTube channel following the LIVE screening.

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