GREENSBORO:
Gateway to the World
Presenter:
Raleigh Bailey, Ph.D., UNCG
Department of Social Work
Moderator: Gale Greenlee, Glenwood Public Library
Panelists:
Jake Henry, Guilford County Newcomers School
Kathy Hinshaw, Center for New North Carolinians (Peru)
Omer Omer, NC African Services Coalition (Sudan)
H’Tuyet Rahlan, Center for New North Carolinians
(Vietnam-Montagnard)
Gateway to the world
• Greensboro is recognized as a
Gateway for newcomers
• Newcomers across US right now, but
Greensboro has unique qualities
• There are 120 first languages in the
public schools,
• An abundance of new churches,
temples, mosques generated by
newcomers
• Let’s take a quick glance through
history to what has brought us here
1708: 100 years before Greensboro
The American Indians
• No known Indian villages in
Greensboro/Guilford area
• 1701, John Lawson, explorer, said
village evidence in Mayodan area
• He visited Keyawee village in
Uwharries
• Triad was well established
passageway for the first immigrants• Native Americans traversing between
northern and southern nations
• Prehistory 10,000 year evidence of
many native cultures and civilizations
• Woodland era, Mississippian
migration
• When Europeans arrived, NC
area had an estimated 100,000
American Indians, and100 tribes
• Most were killed or forced away
• No Europeans or Africans had
come into the Greensboro area
yet
• First European visitors were
probably Spaniards,
missionaries trying to establish
a mission in the Cape Fear
River area in the early 1500’s
• First European language
spoken in what is now NCSpanish
• First English settlers came to
Roanoke Island in 1587
1758: 50 years before Greensboro
Early colonial era
• German Lutherans came in 1740s
– eastern Guilford County
• They came as secondary migrants
from Western Pennsylvania
• Friedens Lutheran Church
established near Gibsonville, 1744
• Maintained German language
through church schools for about a
century
• English speaking Quakers settling
in western Guilford County, 1750’s
• New Garden Friends
Meeting,1764, reported buying its
land from Cheraw Indians
• (Indians probably did not have the
European concept of land
ownership)
• Scotch Irish Presbyterians settled
in mid Guilford, 1750’s
• West African forced migrants,
slaves, brought to area for
farm labor, 1750s
• Much smaller numbers of
Africans than coastal
plantations
• Slaves combined traditional
cultures with colonial life
1808: Greensboro incorporated as
a city
• Greensboro was not a major
gateway for newcomers
• Population was growing mostly
within existing ethnic groups
• secondary migrants seeking land
came from other parts of US
• African heritage community
included slaves and free
• Some migration west by
Quakers opposed to slavery
1858: Greensboro 50 years old
• Newcomers included Irish immigrants,
fleeing potato famine
• A Roman Catholic presence alongside
array of Protestants
• Greensboro, like other parts of the
country, torn by slavery issue
• Active underground railway and
resistance toward secession
• Railroad opened in 1856, connecting
Goldsboro and Charlotte
• Greensboro, as central point, became
known as a transportation center
• Industrialization becomes major factor in
local economy
1908: Greensboro 100 years old
• 1882 Chinese Exclusion act,
restricted immigration to
Europeans
• Greater national percentage of
immigrants than now
• Greensboro, and most of the
nation, still were not initial
gateways for immigrants
• Ellis Island as gateway to industrial
north
• Immigrant waves stoked nation’s
economy, but not in the south.
• Industrial revolution began
transforming Greensboro
• Cones, Benjamins, Sternbergers,
brought textile mills
• Judaism brought new tolerance
and acceptance of diversity
• Greensboro higher education
opportunities were growing
1958: Greensboro 150 years old
• Aftermath of World War II led to
United Nations refugee programs
• Independence movements broke
colonial tiesin Africa, Asia, Latin America.
• NC farms shifting to migrant labor,
primarily Latino and Caribbean
• Latinos in Guilford County were farm
workers, out of sight
• Greensboro, as well as other
communities, struggling with
desegregation
1968: Greensboro 160 years old
• Impact of 1964 Civil Rights Act
• Impact of 1965 Immigration Act
• Sit In movement brings newer
visibility to Greensboro
• West African nations sending
students to NC A&T State University
• Ghanaian, Nigerian, Liberian, Sierra
Leonian communities established
• Urban job migration brings
thousands of Lumbees, other
Indians to Triad
• Latinos in Guilford County as farm
workers, still out of sight
1978: Greensboro 170 years old
• Vietnam War ends, influx of
Southeast Asian refugees
coming to US
• Greensboro faith based
communities sponsor refugee
families
• Greensboro still works on
desegregation issues
1988- Greensboro 180 years old
• Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980 sets
up refugee resettlement systems
• Greensboro refugee resettlement
network becomes professionalized
• Faith communities partner with
business, human services, schools
• Greensboro targets SE Asian refugees
• Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian,
Montagnard communities established
• 1986 Immigration Reform & Control Act:
path for farmworker citizenship
• Other new immigrant communities
emerging-Korean, Indian, Pakistani-
1998- Greensboro 190 years old
• Farmworkers move into construction,
factory work, and bring families
• 2000 Census recognizes NC as fastest
growing Hispanic immigration state
• Additional refugee resettlement agencies
establish Greensboro as base
• Refugee resettlement expands to
Africans: Somalis, Rwandans, Sudanese
• Smaller European refugee populations
include Bosnians, Russian Jews
• 1996 Immigration Reform and Control Act
restricts immigrant entries
• 1996 Personal Responsibility/Work
Opportunity Act restricts services
• Ethnic enclave communities become
magnet for other newcomers
• Selected African and Latino enclaves
grow in Greensboro
• Other groups grow in other parts of
state- Triangle, Asheville, Charlotte
• Hmong in Hickory area make NC the 4th
largest Hmong state
• Ethnic and faith communities form
informal support systems
• Immigrants are recognized as key to
Greensboro and US economic booms
• Human service systems are unprepared
for cultural and linguistic issues
2008: Greensboro 200 Year
Bicentennial Celebration
• Over 60,000 people live in
immigrant families in Greensboro
• City is rich in new faith
communities-Christian, Muslim,
Buddhist, Hindu
• Mainstream churches and new faith
communities host newcomers
• New ethnic businesses, stores,
restaurants are abundant
• Greensboro has largest Montagnard
community in world outside Vietnam
• UNCG has become school of
choice for Hmong second
generation
• A&T remains a magnet for people
from developing countries
• GTCC ESOL programs are
overenrolled
• Over 120 first languages are
represented in Guilford County
Schools
• Guilford County Schools creates a
Newcomer School for new arrivals
• Aftermath of 9-11 includes increased
xenophobia
• Economic downturn and political
scapegoating targets immigrants
• New restrictions threaten immigrant
families and economic development
• Historic desegregation and civil rights
issues have new shades of color
• Second generation of newcomers
bring new challenges and
opportunities
• They want better jobs, better
education
• They will discard some cultural
traditions and preserve others
• Second generation is here to stay,
and likes calling Greensboro “home”
• The diversity of immigrant
communities is unique to
Greensboro
• Greensboro’s historic struggle with
human rights is also unique
• As we work to resolve our
disparities, embrace tolerance for
differences,
• We will emerge as a unique city in
our diversity and cultural richness
THANK YOU!
• HAPPY 200 YEAR
CELEBRATION!
• GREENSBOROGATEWAY TO THE
WORLD
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