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Since the 17th century immigrants and migrants have created and shaped communities across the United States. The first Europeans came to the U.S. in search of religious or political freedom or they arrived under labor contracts, while Africans were forcibly caught in the Atlantic slave trade. Later, immigrants and migrants arrived here, fleeing famine, poverty, civil unrest, and war, or they were attracted by the opportunity to improve their work or living conditions.

There has never been a time when immigration or migration stopped. And each succeeding group of newcomers changed the communities they settled in. Your city is home to thousands of immigrants, all of whom, like people in the past, have stories to share. Maybe your neighbors or family members arrived in the United States. Think about what the experience as an immigrant must have been like now or in any period in history. Was it hard to find your way around the city streets? What was it like attending school or making friends? This theme invites you to create a game about the immigrant experiences in your city.

Choose one of the below prompts for your game, or develop your own game concept:

  • Code-switching: When people move to the United States to live, they assume a new identity as an immigrant but bring a lifetime of cultural and familial references and experiences; ultimately they develop cross-cultural fluency. This act of changing one’s language and self-presentation depending on the situation is called “code-switching.” Create a game that imagines a world in which code-switching is a positive and empowering tool (maybe it’s even a superpower).
  • Community story: Interview someone in your community or family who immigrated to the United States. What resources in the community did they use? Who helped them out? What has gotten in their way? What have they learned? Make a game that tells this unique story from their point of view, and incorporates primary sources from your research, such as voice recordings, old photographs, and maps.
  • Borderless lands: Today, 97% of people live in the country they were born in. Would a world without political borders inspire more immigration? Create an adventure game about a borderless world. How do people communicate and navigate? How do the cultures mix and mingle? How would schools prepare truly “global” citizens?
  • Compare: Create a game that compares the lives of two immigrants from different cultures living in your city during the same or, oppositely, distant historical periods. Through your game’s narrative, explore how these experiences were similar or different, allowing for the possibility that one day, their lives intersect.

Humanities Texas


A radio series profiling individuals who have had a profound influence upon Texas history and culture. Developed in partnership with Houston Public Media, the program is available to other public and commercial radio stations in Texas. Please contact Humanities Texas if you’re interested in bringing the program to your community.


R. C. Hickman was a Dallas photographer whose thousands of images produced from 1949 to 1961 document life in an African American community in Texas. His photographs depict a community largely invisible to white Americans—thoroughly a part of mainstream America by virtue of accomplishment and lifestyle but excluded from it because of race. His images reveal his awareness of the broad community context within which individuals survive, grow, and understand themselves.


As a major gateway for immigration, Galveston Island was the port of entry for hundreds of thousands of people coming to America from 1845 to 1924. Forgotten Gateway considers the importance of place in the immigrant experience—tracing the history of Galveston Island as it changed from a small harborage for sailing vessels, to a major cosmopolitan steamship and railroad hub, and back to a nearly abandoned immigrant station—and explores universal themes of immigration including leaving home, encountering danger, confronting discrimination, and navigating bureaucracy.


The Portal to Texas History is a gateway to rare, historical, and primary source materials from or about Texas. Created and maintained by the University of North Texas Libraries, the Portal leverages the power of hundreds of content partners across the state to provide a vibrant, growing collection of resources.