Becoming American




A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on our Immigration Experience

Becoming American is a six documentary film viewing and scholar-led discussion series on immigrants and their experiences before, and after arriving in the United States.  Immigration is an important hot topic in our country. By viewing the documentary films on immigration history and having open discussion and dialog led by our immigration scholar the honorable emeritus immigration judge Charles Pazar, this timely and relevant series will facilitate a civil debate about immigration and the future of immigration in the United States as well as our Memphis community.

The six sessions are as follows:

  • The Century of Immigration (There are two film sessions on this theme.)
  • Promise and Prejudice
  • Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturation
  • Help Wanted: Immigration and Work
  • Family and Community
  • Immigration and Popular Culture

Becoming American is a City Lore project with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities in collaboration with the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the International Coalition of the Sites of Conscience.

The Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library of Memphis Public Libraries is the only recipient of this grant in the state of TN.

Scholar:  Our scholar is the honorable emeritus immigration judge Charles Pazar.  Judge Pazar was the first Immigration Judge appointed to the Memphis Immigration Court, which opened in 1998.  The court hears cases for all of Tennessee, Arkansas, north Mississippi and Kentucky.  After an illustrious tenure, Judge Pazar retired in June, 2017.  In addition, Judge Pazar has taught Immigration Law as an adjunct professor since 2000 at the University of Memphis and the University of Mississippi.

Dates: 6pm on the following Thursdays in the fall, 2018.

Thursday, September 20th: The Century of Immigration
Films: New York: A Documentary Film: Episode 4: The Power and the People, by Ric Rurns & The Jewish Americans. Episode 2: A World of Their Own, by David Grubin

Thursday, October 4th: Promise and Prejudice
Film: Welcome to Shelbyville, by Kim A. Snyder

Thursday, October 18th: Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturation
Film: The New Americans, Episode 1: The Nigerians, by Steve James

Thursday, November 1st: Help Wanted? Immigration and Work
Film: Destination America, Episode 1: The Golden Door, by Stephen Stept and David Grubin

Thursday, November 15th: Family and Community
Film: My American Girls, by Aaron Matthews

Thursday, November 29th: Immigration and Popular Culture
Film: The Search for General Tso, by Ian Cheney

Becoming American Sponsors

Becoming American Partners