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Becoming American immigration film series coming to the Quad Cities

Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on Our Immigration Experience, an NEH program, is coming to the Quad Cities this spring. Becoming American is a six-week public program featuring documentary film screenings and moderated discussions designed to encourage an informed discussion of immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history.

The film screenings and discussions take place at venues across the Quad Cities from March 5 through April 9. Additional programming will continue through April 30. Discussions will be moderated by Augustana College professors Dr. Adam Kaul and Dr. Chris Strunk.

Film and Discussion Programs

The Century of Immigration   

Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM 
Figge Art Museum, 225 2nd Street, Davenport         

About 40 million immigrants from 1820 to 1924, transformed immigration into a major and defining aspect of American life.

Promise and Prejudice 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM  
Moline Public Library, 3210 41st Street, Moline 

Historic and current tension between American ideals of freedom and democracy, and the backlash and resistance to newcomers periodically expressed.

Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturation 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM  
German American Heritage Center & Museum, 712 W. 2nd Street, Davenport      

New Americans bridge the traditions and values of native countries and the demands and mores of American life, and differences between first and second generations.

Help Wanted? Immigration and Work 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM 
Augustana College, Hanson Hall of Sciences, Room 102, 726 35th Street, Rock Island

Economic side of immigration, chronicling the part of immigrant labor that help build America and the conflicted relationship American workers have had with immigrants.

Family and Community 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM 
Butterworth Center, 1105 8th Street, Moline

Historical importance of family and community in immigrants’ adaption to American life.

Immigration and Popular Culture 

Tuesday, April 9, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
St. Ambrose University, Rogalski Center Ballrooms 2–4, W. High Street, Davenport

Media and popular culture have historically taught new citizens how to be “American,” and different immigrant groups have transformed American culture and art, film to music to food.

Additional Programs

Immigration and Citizenship Workshop 

Saturday, February 23, 2019 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
Moline Public Library

This workshop is FREE. No registration is required. Representatives from QCAir and Esperanza Legal Assistance Center will be at the library to provide information on various immigration situations and how to become a U.S. Citizen. Attendees will be able to ask questions and get help with forms regarding their own immigration status.

Gaelic Songs Concert

Friday, March 8, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Moline Public Library

Dan Haughey professional singer and actor from the Quad Cities performs his “Gaelic Songs” acoustical show.

Citizenship Test Preparation Course

Wednesday(s), March 13, 2019, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Moline Public Library

This free 8 week course series meets every Wednesday until May 1st. The course is open to anyone wanting to prepare for the United States citizenship test. You must have Basic English language skills. Registration is required, as space is limited.

It was a Crime to be German

Friday, March 22, 2019, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Moline Public Library

Historical actor Barbara Kay of Glen Carbon, IL, portrays her great-grandmother, Margaret May, a resident of southern Illinois who saw and felt anti-German hysteria a century ago.

International Fashion Show

Saturday, April 6, 2019, 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Moline Public Library

Explore and celebrate fashions from around the world. Program in partnership with QCAir.

Belgian Lace Demonstration

Monday, April 8, 2019, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Moline Public Library

Marlene Shattuck will perform a demonstration on making Belgian lace.

German American Heritage Museum Tour

Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
German American Heritage Center & Museum

Take a tour through the German American Heritage Museum. Registration is required as space is limited. Contact the Moline Public Library to register. 

The Effects of Hitler's Rise to Power on the Jews in Germany Discussion

Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Moline Public Library

Presenter, Ethan Bensinger, will focus on the three motivating factors that Jews faced in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s that determined whether they should stay or leave Germany: fear, vilification, and necessity. Program in partnership with Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities.

Food, Music, and Culture

Friday, April 26, 2019, 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Butterworth Center and Deere-Wiman House

Learn about the many ethnic groups that exist in the Quad Cities and the food and music from their culture. 

Time to Ship Another Steer

Saturday, April 27, 2019, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
German American Heritage Center & Museum

Valborg, Swedish Bonfire

Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
The Quad of Augustana College

Augustana's Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center will mark the arrival of spring with a Valborg celebration, including a variety of games from around the world until dusk, when a bonfire will be lit.

Meet the Scholars

Adam Kaul Adam Kaul

Professor of Anthropology
Augustana College

Dr. Adam Kaul is a Professor of Anthropology at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, where he teaches courses on globalization and tourism, the anthropology of the arts, Native American cultures, and anthropological theory. He has written extensively on traditional music, tourism, and the economics of musical performances in Ireland. He also studies the anthropology of risk, death, and dying. He returns regularly to Ireland where he continues his studies there, and he has been carrying out ethnographic fieldwork in Bishop Hill, Illinois since 2010 where he is focusing on the intersection between Swedish immigration / heritage tourism and the clean energy economy.

Chris StrunkChris Strunk

Associate Professor of Geography
Augustana College

Dr. Chris Strunk is an Associate Professor of Geography at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. His teaching and research interests include urban geography and planning, international migration and immigration policy, human rights, foodways and urban agriculture. His research explores transnational migration and immigrant and refugee organizations in the United States. He has conducted research in Bolivia, Washington D.C., and Minnesota, and is currently researching urban gardening practices and migrant incorporation in the Midwest.   

The series is sponsored by Moline Public Library, Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center at Augustana College, German American Heritage Center, Butterworth Center, St. Ambrose University, Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities and WVIK. 

Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on Our Immigration Experience is a project of City Lore in collaboration with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience. The project has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.


Lisa Huntsha


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