Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sikh Immigration to the US: Berkeley Library

Studying Sikhism?  The University of California Library at Berkeley has an excellent online exhibit about the history of immigration from South Asia to California.

That immigration begins, according to the exhibit, in 1899 when four Sikhs arrive in San Francisco.

The exhibit covers immigration to 1965 when Congress signed the Immigration and Nationality Act. That act, also known as Hart-Celler Act, lifted the "national origins" quota beginning a period of greater immigration. The exhibit is divided into chapters and chronicles the lives of immigrant Sikhs in the U.S.

The material is fascinating and might make for an interesting Web quest when you cover Sikhism. Chapter 7 of the exhibit, for example, covers Sikh students at the University of Washington on the Pacific Coast. Prejudice, stereotyping and hazing were all part of the experience.  In Chapter 8, Sikh students become active in nationalist causes and form the Gadar Party.  They even worked to raise money for arms to send to India in their cause against the British.

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