Primary Source: Whose U.S. Is This Anyway?
Note: This resource was selected for educators to use to teach about the relationship between the Ku Klux Klan’s white supremacist ideas on immigration and the Immigration Act of 1924 (Johnson-Reed Act). To use these resources responsibly, please view our teaching ideas, some of which are included in our Reflection Questions and Teaching Suggestions below.
The primary source was culled from the collection of the Indiana State Library by Historian Jill Weiss Simins.
The resources on this website can be used to:
- Build an understanding of public messages about migration through U.S. history.
- Inquire about the way public messages about migration influence how people think and act.
- Identify patterns of prejudice and prepares students to assess whether available public stories about migration are reliable and representative.
The resources in the Klan’s newspaper sought to spread and reinforce their white supremacist vision. To do that, they often created and spread their own propaganda, and they also reprinted political cartoons from the mainstream press that they felt supported their ideas. The resource below is an example.
“Whose U. S. Is This Anyway?” cartoon, Denver Post reprinted in Fiery Cross (Indianapolis), May 9, 1924, 1, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles.
Reflection Questions and Teaching Suggestions
It is essential that students recognize that the Klan’s newspaper, The Fiery Cross, was not intended as objective journalism. It was published as a tool to disseminate the Klan’s white supremacist perspective and promote their racist and xenophobic vision. The questions and activities below are intended to build an understanding of the role the Klan played in the 1920s in shaping attitudes about immigration, encourage reflection on the way that Klan sought to promote their ideas as well as consider why so many people found their racist ideas appealing.
Consider using the following thinking routines to frame a close read of the document itself:
- Seel-Feel-Think-Wonder: A thinking routine for nurturing close observation, curiosity, and self-awareness
- By Whom, About Whom, For Whom?: A thinking routine to make power and positions visible
Consider using the following thinking routines to encourage reflection and communication about the resource including the perspectives and insights that students bring to the document and take away from their close read. Recognizing that not all of us bring the same perspective and experiences to a study of anti-immigrant racism and its influence on policy, it is extremely important to encourage thoughtful communication across differences. You might begin by either reinforcing any contract you have set up for communication or creating one now. The following routines might be helpful for creating respectful dialogue and reflection:
- Chalk Talk: A thinking routine for considering ideas, questions, or problems by silently responding in writing both to the prompt and the thoughts of others
- Who Benefits?A thinking routine to gauge and respond to inequities
- What Makes You Say That?: A thinking routine for building explanations
Citation: Gregg, “Whose U. S. Is This Anyway?” cartoon, Denver Post reprinted in Fiery Cross (Indianapolis), May 9, 1924, 1, accessed Hoosier State Chronicles.
New Immigration Bill;
U. S.”Whose U.S. Is This, Anyway?”