Gypsies in America (Immigration the Roma people, their history, etc.)

Essay by elwinHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2005

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Gypsies (or "Roma") originated in India in first few centuries after the life of Christ. Unfortunately, little is known about the Gypsy's past as it was never written down and has only been passed through the generations by story-telling. The only significant research on Gypsies was conducted by the Nazis who collected thousands of genealogies in preparation for a genocidal action against them. Between a half and one and a half million Gypsies were murdered. What we do know, is that through slow migrations, these traveling people passed through the lands of the Persians and Turks and came into the south of Europe in the height of the Middle Ages. Everywhere along the country roads people regarded these wandering minstrels and fortune-telling rovers as less than human, and lives not worth life. It is true that in the first few decades when the Gypsies came to Europe, some people thought they were Egyptian pilgrims (this is from where the word "gypsy" comes), and harbored them in their homes and treated them with the hospitality only reserved for holy men bound on sacred missions.

The pilgrim façade only lasted a short time, and the wandering Gypsies were soon seen only as criminals. Criminals from birth, regardless of act or deed. They lacked a homeland and they were strangers in every town. It was not until centuries later that Gypsies would be free from oppression and not be tyrannized by racism.

There have been Gypsies in America since 1640 when entire families of English Gypsies called "Romanichals" were, simply for the crime of being Gypsy and not being members of the Church of England, enslaved or sent as indentured servants to the North American plantations in Virginia and the Carolinas. They occupied the same class as the Negro slaves brought in from...