How To Be American: The History of Immigration and Migration

By The Tenement Museum

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Subscribers: 25
Reviews: 2

 Feb 27, 2020
This is a fascinating podcast from one of my favorite museums! The new host Amanda's genuine empathy and interest in her subjects pull the listener into the story with her. Not to be missed!

Dan V
 Feb 26, 2020
Really interesting and well-produced podcast from the Tenement Museum about history and immigration etc. The new host, Amanda's voice is also very pleasant to listen to!


These American stories are not in your standard history book. History tends to be reduced to key moments and celebrated names, and what’s often overlooked are the stories of the ordinary people, both past and present, who have lived through journeys of immigration and migration...the people who have shaped what it means to be and to become American. How To Be American is a podcast by the Tenement Museum where from New York’s Lower East Side, we explore the history of immigration and migration in America. We share the stories of migrants and refugees, and everyone in-between. And we examine why so many important events in our history have unfolded around issues of immigration and national identity. This is the past, present, and future of becoming American.

Episode Date
Burial Grounds

Communities don’t always have all the facts they need to reconstruct past realities, nor do institutions sometimes have all the histories to preserve the past. We'll talk to Lauren O’Brien, a Lead Project Scholar at the Tenement Museum, about a new tour, coming to the Museum, that will help us reconstruct the forgotten histories of Black migrants in Lower Manhattan. We begin our story in a Black-owned Tavern, Uncle Pete Almack’s Cellar, in the notorious Five Points neighborhood, a cultural hot-spot for the intermingling of African American and Irish residents. What does this hot-spot tell us about Black culture and placemaking before the infamous Draft Riots of 1863? And what happened to the 10,300 Black residents who all but vanished from the Five Points after the riots? We’ll turn to Lauren O’Brien to uncover a Pre-Harlem World that’s been buried for more than 156 years, and meet with Derrick L. Head, National Park Service Ranger and Historian, at the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan for a deeper look at New York City’s Black History.  

Mar 12, 2020
Relics Left Behind

Imagine that someone came to your house 150 years later: what would they find, what would those found objects say about you; about your way of life? Sometimes it’s the ever-day things you leave behind that tell stories about your past. On this episode, we talk to our resident expert of Tenement Curiosities about some of the strangest objects found in 97 and 103 Orchard. What are these objects and why aren’t they on display to visitors of the Tenement Museum? What do mummified bagels and rusted-curry-cans tell us about mass-consumerism, immigrant food trends, and the process of ‘becoming American?’ We’ll begin our story with a visit to the Museum’s permanent collection.

Feb 27, 2020
Our Game

Baseball has always had a special place in our nation’s history. It’s a common symbol of America’s values, identity, and rural past--you might even say it’s as American as apple pie.  

But did you know that beyond the ballpark there is a grittier version of the game, played mostly in immigrant neighborhoods in cities big and small?  

In the first episode of season 2 of How To Be American, host Amanda Adler Brennan talks with baseball historians and stickball players about the significance for city kids in being able to turn city streets and the sides of buildings into their very own ‘field of dreams’.  

Feb 13, 2020
Introducing How To Be American Season 2
How To Be American is the Tenement Museum’s podcast series. In its second season, eight new episodes will tell eight new stories that dig deeper into the tapestry of American immigration, stories of people who shaped American identity by doing everything from creating street games to traveling to outer space. Listen to the season 2 trailer now.
Jan 30, 2020
BONUS: A New Voice

How To Be American has some exciting news! Host Brendan takes a stroll down memory lane for season 1 and introduces who will continue the journey moving forward...

Want to follow our new host? Find her on Twitter: @AmandaListens. 

Nov 20, 2019
The Avatar for America
There’s nothing more American than Coca-Cola, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and comic books. In the final episode of season 1 of How To Be American, we’ll uncover the history of diversity and representation in the panels, and discuss what comics tell us about our shared American identity since the dawn of Marvel, DC, and other comic book creators. 
May 29, 2019
BONUS: A truly American art form

Listen to the teaser for our sixth and final episode of the first season of How To Be American- all about comics! Whose your favorite superhero? And why are comics considered a truly American art form?

May 22, 2019
Why Can't I Be Both?
Take a look inside the complicated diversity within the heart of two immigrant communities. We’ll begin with Kleindeutschland in the mid-19th century, and then head  into Brooklyn, where we’ll get an inside look at Flatbush and an organization called CaribBeing with its founder, Shelley Worrell.  
May 15, 2019
BONUS: A walking tour of Flatbush

In this teaser host Brendan Murphy visits Flatbush, BK, to explore its Caribbean immigrant culture for How To Be American's fifth episode all about how immigrant groups have carved out communities for themselves throughout US history.

May 08, 2019
Teaser: Spring Break!

How To Be American is taking a break for two weeks! In this short teaser, host Brendan Murphy explores the distinctly American history of the concept of Spring Break!

Apr 24, 2019
'Sing Like An American'

Hundreds of sewing machines rattle and hiss—explore the industrial soundscape that shaped the American identities of young factory workers in 1911 with composer Julia Wolfe.

Apr 17, 2019
BONUS: How music shaped the American identity

Get a sneak preview of Episode 4 of How To Be American, released next Wednesday, all about the transformative power of music on the American identity. 

Apr 10, 2019
She Galvanized a Movement

Voting is a core part of the American identity. Join us as we explore how immigrant women fought to gain the right to vote and are still fighting to get seats at the table.  

Apr 03, 2019
BONUS: Get out the vote!

Get a sneak preview of the third Episode of How To Be American, exploring the history of women and the long fight for voting rights!

Mar 27, 2019
Flat Dough With Stuff On Top

Ever wonder how pizza became New York City’s quintessential street food? Get ready to find out as we unveil pizza’s very own immigration story.  


Mar 20, 2019
BONUS: What makes a real pizza?

Get a sneak preview of How To Be American's second episode, all about pizza!

Mar 18, 2019
I Would Cross a Million Borders

Join our host Brendan Murphy as he explores how two women, one during the 20s and one just a few years ago, navigated the American immigration system and all its pitfalls.  

Mar 05, 2019
Trailer: The Reason Behind the Name

Listen to learn more about the book that inspired the name of this Podcast. 

Jan 17, 2019
Introducing How To Be American

Listen to learn more about the topics, people, and stories we will explore during the first season of How To Be An American. 

Jan 02, 2019