The Americanization of Italians in Thurber, Texas, 1880-1920.
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Idone, Raffaele, 1989-
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Italian families arrived in Thurber, Texas, at the beginning of the twentieth century, fleeing conditions of extreme poverty and high rates of unemployment in Italy. They responded to the American demand for low-cost manpower. Despite the first decades in which Italians suffered discrimination, their admirable work ethic and willingness to adapt to a new environment allowed them to become genuine Americans rather quickly. The town of Thurber was selected for this thesis because its community counted more Italians than Americans or people of other ethnicities. As a result of their hard work in the mines, oil drilling stations, and ultimately in the local brick factory, Italians proved wrong all those who doubted their ability to assimilate into American society. Ownership of property and gaining the right to vote as citizens allowed Italians to become full-fledged Americans. At the same time, they retained their picturesque traditional habits and customs.