Immigrants Taking Oath of Citizenship
Americanization was a nationwide movement in the early 20th century that intended to bring millions of immigrants fully into American culture. Cities organized English classes, schools offered weekend classes in civics, and companies helped employees get citizenship papers. During World War I, these efforts intensified. In 1920, the Minneapolis Council of Americanization had membership of more than 80 organizations and individuals, including the YMCA and settlement houses. The purpose of this council, and others like it, was to coordinate Americanization work across immigrant communities. Twenty percent of Minnesota's population in 1920 were foreign-born.
After women gained the right to vote in 1920, new procedures were put into place for their path to citizenship. Before 1920, an immigrant woman whose husband became a citizen automatically became a citizen. After the 19th amendment passed, women also needed citizenship papers, which is why several women in this 1925 photograph are also taking the oath.