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Jews, who had their own struggles for acceptance following their immigration to the United States in the nineteenth century (see also: The American Jewish Experience in the Twentieth Century: Antisemitism and Assimilation), joined the civil rights movement, and Native Americans also began to assert their religious and ancestral identities, as with the occupation of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and Wounded Knee, South Dakota, site of one most brutal massacres of Sioux Indians at the hands of the United States Cavalry in 1890. Johnson signed the Hart-Cellar Immigration Act in July 1965, immigration quotas finally were removed.
The immigration of the Irish, following the Potato Famines in the Old World, met with resistance from American Protestants, who wanted to retain their hegemony.
Germans and Italians also faced hostilities in the nineteenth century, in part because of the newcomers’ faith but also because Catholic immigrants did not share Protestant scruples about temperance.
Many Africans, who were brought forcibly to the New World as slaves, adopted the Christianity (so-called) of their captors.
But others sought, against formidable odds, to retain vestiges of their ancestral religions; more often than not, those expressions manifested themselves in enthusiastic worship.
African-Americans also sought independence from white churches, finding at least a measure or institutional autonomy in such organizations as the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Episcopal Methodist Zion Church, and, later, in the Moorish Science Temple of America and the Nation of Islam. I: To the Civil War) Asians began to arrive late in the nineteenth century, many to the West Coast to help with the construction of the transcontinental railroad.
The numbers of immigrants prompted the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and other Asians also met with resistance.Maryland, named for the wife of England’s Charles I (not for the Blessed Virgin, as many believe), was founded by Lord Calvert as a refuge for English Catholics, but he recognized even from the beginning that Catholic settlers would have to accommodate believers from other traditions in order to ensure toleration for themselves.William Penn, an English Quaker, founded his “Holy Experiment” in 1680, a place of religious toleration that attracted Lutherans and Quakers, along with smaller groups such as Moravians, Mennonites, Amish, and Schwenckfelders.In 1524 Giovanni da Verrazano, an Italian navigator in the service of France, discovered the inlet to what is now New York harbor through the Narrows that now bears his name.Nearly a century later, Henry Hudson, an Englishman under contract to the Dutch West India Company, nosed the Half Moon through the same Narrows and up the River later named in his honor.At other times, religious groups have accommodated to one another, as in the Middle Colonies, where rampant ethnic and religious diversity forced various groups to find some way to coexist.New Netherland provides a particularly graphic example.Divining America Advisors and Staff Religious Diversity in America Randall Balmer Professor of American Religious History Barnard College, Columbia University ©National Humanities Center Ever since the first days of European settlement—and even before that with the wide variety of Native cultures—diversity has been one of the distinguishing features of religious life in North America.Sometimes the juxtaposition of religious groups created conflict, as when Spanish settlers sought to impose Roman Catholicism on the Pueblos in the Southwest, leading to the Pueblo uprising of 1680, seventy years after the founding of Santa Fe as the first European capital city in North America.Opposition to “Rum and Romanism” became commonplace.Religious diversity not only had an ethnic valence, it was racial as well.