Immigration Policy

Virtual Tenement Talk: Three Historians Walk Into a Saloon – 1965


Our current immigration system traces its roots back nearly 60 years to the Hart-Celler Act of 1965. Legislators designed this law to remove to the restrictions of the 1924 National Origins Act, and to change how ideas about race informed the immigration system. Authored by some of the same politicians who protested the 1924 law, the Hart Cellar Act focused on family reunification, skill-based visas, and equal visa quotas for every country. This Act also removed the last remnants of the Chinese Exclusion Act from nearly 80 years prior.

Join us as we explore how these details shape America and Americans today. Tenement Museum President Annie Polland and Dr. Mae Ngai, Professor of History and Asian American Studies at Columbia University, are joined in conversation by Margaret Chin, sociologist and author of ‘Sewing Women: Immigrants and the New York City Garment Industry‘, and Nancy Foner, author of ‘One-Quarter of the Nation: Immigration and the Transformation of America‘.

Three Historians Walk Into a Saloon is our newest virtual Tenement Talk mini-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? 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. While the conversations focus on different moments in the past, they are animated by present-day questions.

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