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"The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, Etc."

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Aired on Friday, May 10th.

The acclaimed journalist and bestselling author Daniel Okrent is our guest; he tells us about his new book, "The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law That Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America." This book looks back to the 1920s is reveal a dark and forgotten chapter of American history -- a troubling era with serious implications for the present day. "The Guarded Gate" tells the story of the scientists who argued that certain nationalities were inherently inferior, thus providing the intellectual justification for the harshest immigration law in American history. Brandished by various upper class Bostonians and New Yorkers -- many of them (surprisingly) progressives -- who led the anti-immigration movement, these eugenic (and pseudo-scientific) arguments helped keep hundreds of thousands of Jews, Italians, and other unwanted groups out of the U.S. for 40+ years. Per Kirkus Reviews: "[This  is] a frighteningly timely book about a particularly ugly period in American history, a bigotry-riddled chapter many thought was closed but that shows recent signs of reopening.... One of the narrative's great strengths is the author's inclusion of dozens of minibiographies illuminating the backgrounds of the racist politicians and the promoters of phony eugenics 'research'....[A] revelatory and necessary historical account."

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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