Celebrating America's Diversity: Family History Month 2011by Pamela Velazquez This October, join millions across the United States in celebrating Family History Month. Started ten years ago, Family History Month is a great opportunity to learn about your heritage while making new memories with your family.
The U.S. is largely a nation of immigrants and descendants of immigrants, a melting pot. "Melting pot" can suggest a place where people live in harmony, despite cultural differences that might elsewhere provoke conflict. But "melting pot" also suggests that diverse traditions and histories get boiled down to homogeneous soup. Better food-related analogies might compare the country to a salad, trail mix, or a picnic, distinct elements create a beautiful whole. Family History Month is the perfect time to learn which ingredients your ancestors brought to the table.
The United States observed its first Family History Month ten years ago. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch introduced a resolution on September 12, 2001 to designate October as Family History Month. Hatch had circulated a draft for months, but it's fitting that he formally introduced it the day after the September 11 attacks. In the uncertain aftermath, the words of the resolution resonated. "We look to the family as an unwavering symbol of constancy that will help us discover a future of prosperity, promise, and potential," the legislation read. "Interest in our personal family history transcends all cultural and religious affiliations." It passed by unanimous consent.
For the tenth anniversary, we created this infographic to illustrate some facts about immigration and the diverse people who call this nation home (click to enlarge). We have also included some ideas to jumpstart your foray into family history, whether your journey starts in the distant past or with your personal story.
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