Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Race and Ethnicity

Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), like many Americans before and after him, struggled to overcome his disdain for the Other–African Americans, Irish, Chinese and other newly arrived immigrants, and Native Americans. This project focuses on interviewing a wide variety of Americans on issues of race and ethnicity, in anticipation of the 2012 presidential election, during which America’s first African-American president will be seeking re-election.

Posts in Race and Ethnicity

Miss Kim’s journey from Vietnamese village to American capital city

When the doctors couldn’t completely remove the large and painful cyst on her son Kent’s lower back, Chung Kim Do, who insists that we call her Miss Kim, took matters into her own hands. Miss Kim, … Read more >>

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 >>

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 >>

Warden Burl Cain of Louisiana State Penitentiary advocates “moral rehabilitation”

Burl Cain, 69, warden of Louisiana State Penitentiary for about 17 years, arranges for us to view the 18,000-acre prison, the largest maximum security penitentiary in America, from its Mississippi River edge. That’s the way Samuel … Read more >>

Money, Mississippi: A beginning place for the civil rights revolution

We have stopped at what remains of Bryant’s Grocery & Meat Market, Money, Mississippi, site of an incident that led to a brutal murder that helped kick-start the civil rights revolution. On August 14, 1955, Emmett … Read more >>