Every year, the United States president signs an executive order that makes October National Italian-American Heritage Month. October was chosen because it coincides with Columbus Day (probably the first Italian to grace North American shores) and was designed to recognize the incredible contributions Italian-Americans have made to American culture.
Italian-Americans are the fourth largest European ethnic group with 5.5 million Italians immigrating to the United States between 1820 and 2004. 80% of the immigrants came from southern Italy, escaping overpopulation and massive unemployment. While they initially worked as unskilled, manual laborers upon their arrival, by 1990 65% of Italian-Americans held managerial, professional or white-collar jobs demonstrating the perseverance and determination that’s characteristic of Italian culture. Ever heard of the Roman Empire? Read the rest of this entry »