The purpose of our project is to build upon the previous research conducted by Maggie concerning the recent migration of Diversity Visa Lottery immigrants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the rural town of Kirksville, Missouri. By interviewing members of the Congolese immigrant population as well as long-term Kirksville residents, we hope to understand the reasons behind this recent influx of immigrants as well as the experience of immigrating to and living in the Kirksville community.

The questions we chose to focus on include, but are not limited to: what factors influenced people to leave their native country and migrate to the United States specifically, what the process of applying for migrant or refugee status included, their challenges and successes of adjusting to life in Kirksville, and the effects of this migration on the Kirksville community.

These interviews are supplemented with outside sources such as newspapers and scholarly journals to give more situational and cultural context to the geopolitical situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Kirksville community.

It is our hope that by making this research available and accessible to the public, we may not only share what we have learned, but also create more of a dialogue concerning the integration of the Congolese population in Kirksville.

“The shift in settlement patterns among immigrants to new destinations and the continuing replenishment of new immigrants through ongoing migration streams mean that the emerging literature on immigration will have to take a new empirical and theoretical focus. Empirically, it is time to move away from city-based studies in traditional gateways and look at the transformation of the South, the Midwest, and small cities, towns and rural areas, and suburban areas as sites of first settlement… Now is a propitious time to study the new second generation in rural America and its progress in school, relationships with teachers and peers, and links to other institutions (e.g., social services providers and police).”¹

 

 

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1. Lichter, Daniel T. “Immigration and the New Racial Diversity in Rural America,” Rural Sociology, 77.1 (March 2012): 3–35, accessed 25 September 2017, https://dx.doi.org/10.1111%2Fj.1549-0831.2012.00070.x.