Room Three: Work and Economic Integration

Little Italy bounced back from the 1906 earthquake in better shape than ever. At the same time, Italian immigrants had established themselves as the primary fishermen in the San Francisco Bay, and as a major agricultural force as well. Some children of the first wave of immigrants were coming of age in the 1900s to the 1930s, and these achieved greater success than their parents in law, politics, business, and agriculture, especially wine. Once again, the relative lack or prejudice in California, or rather the vicious prejudice against other groups allowed Italian families to quickly integrate themselves into California's economy and politics. At the same time, the first generation of immigrants began to worry that their children adopted the customs of their new home too quickly. This question of national identity would become even more glaring with the rise of Benito Mussolini in 1919, and his open attempts to maintain ties with those who had emigrated from Italy.


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