Immigration - Felton 1 Leea Felton Immigration and the...

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Felton, 1 Leea Felton Immigration and the American Dream Due December 8 th 2010 “To Be an American” The question of “what it means to be an American” can easily be one of the most difficult questions for historians to answer. Does anyone; teacher, scientist, philosopher, even civilian, have an understanding of what “being American” is? Throughout the semester, by reading several excerpts, books, and historical doctrine, it is apparent that although not accurately defined, there is an assumption made by natives, and immigrants, on what being American is. In an interview with Haitian-American immigrant Marie Ceran, I have been given the opportunity to explore exactly what those “American” traits are, and how one who isn’t born in the United States can reach that standard. Marie Ceran was born in Haiti in the year 1963 to parents Lucian and Carmen Ceran; she was also greeted by four sisters, two brothers, and an aunt and uncle who lived with her parents as well. The family lived in a small conflict consumed town located slightly south of Port-au- Prince. Her father Lucian worked as a ___ but was soon forced to leave his job because of the strong political turmoil in the nation. The sixties, according to Marie were some of the most tumultuous years for the dictating reign of François Duvalier often referred to as “Papa Doc.” In 1957 he declared himself “President for life,” and used his power to embezzle money, make fraudulent deals, and numerous other corrupt actions. His fascist army, the “ton-ton macoute” marched through several cities, towns, and small villages brutally killing, and torturing anyone who was believed to be (or spoke out) against the President.
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Felton, 2 Marie states that her father (once a poised, and popular man of their town) was devastated by the fall and destruction of democracy in his nation, as well as the lost of basic human rights. Despite the tension that begin to immediately brew in his town, her father still spoke his mind to fellow citizens who also longed for the ways of “the old Haiti.” According to her, parents Marie had a quite normal childhood, and the family lived contently compared to many of their neighbors. It wasn’t until Marie’s mother Carmen got a message from the spirit of ____, that the family started to fear for the future. Marie claims that her mother received a warning from the spirit, advising them to leave the country as soon as possible, or face the loss of a loved one. Seven months after her spiritual encounter, Carmen was diagnosed with cancer. The lack of proper health facilities, as well as the dangers of traveling into a major city for medical treatment, left the Ceran family with no choice but to immigrate to America. Like the early immigrants of the 19
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Immigration - Felton 1 Leea Felton Immigration and the...

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