Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Immigration Stories

America has long been described as a nation of immigrants. President Obama chooses to call himself the son of a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya. One thread of this “Traveling with Twain in Search of America’s Identity” project tells the story of a representative immigrant family in America, the Ghigliones, beginning with the arrival in 1869 of seamstress Maria Strada Ghiglione and in 1872 of indentured macaroni maker Angelo Francesco Ghiglione. The project participants also are interviewing Americans about their attitudes toward current immigrants to the United States.

Posts in Immigration Stories

In the middle of white Nebraska, Lexington is almost two-thirds Hispanic

“The writing was on the wall,” says Rev. Paul J. Colling, the 54-year-old pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, Lexington, Nebraska, who also serves as vicar for Hispanic issues for the Grand Island diocese, 50,000 square … Read more >>

Family history abounds in Kansas

After our visit to St. Joseph’s Pony Express Museum, we head west on the Pony Express Highway (Rte. 36) for northeastern Kansas to learn about my mother’s Methodist, farm-family parents, Loren Haskin (I was named for … Read more >>

A First Birthday Party for a Great, Great, Great-Granddaughter

Mark Twain, celebrator of his siblings and children, many of whom died too young, would have joined me in appreciating what I experienced with the Ghiglione family in Seattle. I am an effete, East Coast Ghiglione, … Read more >>

Mexican American artist Andy Valdivia depicts overcoming violence, poverty and “Mexican Heaven”

Shortly after my Haskin grandparents left Kansas by railroad, Mexican immigrants began arriving in Kansas by railroad to escape poverty and the violence of the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920. They took unskilled jobs with railroads, mining companies … Read more >>

Cincinnati: A city of immigrants and free African Americans

For the two hours we have to spend in Cincinnati we focus on food and a photo. The photo, an amazing 1848 daguerreotype view from across the Ohio River, details two miles of the Cincinnati waterfront … Read more >>