Fewest foreign-born? Let’s not brag about it

“[In 1952] Senator Willis Smith hailed ‘the people of Greek ancestry’ who had come to North Carolina and ‘conducted themselves in a businesslike way.’ Smith was sure there were ‘no better citizens’ of his state. But, of course, their successful absorption reflected the fact that ‘the percentage of foreign-born in my state is the smallest of any state in the union.’ ”

— From “American Crucible: Race and Nation in the 20th Century” (2001) by Gary Gerstle

Fifteen years earlier, Dr. Frederick Hanes of Duke University, appointed by the General Assembly to head a committee on mental illness, brought back a message legislators may not have expected: “There is considerable pride in this ‘100 percent American stock,’ but it is possible that some new stock, especially from northern European countries, would have been beneficial….These population facts have a direct relation to the incidence of mental illness….”