Jeff Libman shines a thoughtful light on the real lives of immigrants. Their profound and insightful stories can not soon be forgotten. An Immigrant Class is a fascinating, important and heartfelt work.
David Isay, Radio Documentary Producer
An Immigrant Class is a collection of stories and photographs of 20 recent immigrants and former English as a Second Language (ESL) students of mine at Harry S Truman College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. These stories were compiled from interviews conducted in English over a period of four years from 1998-2001.
In each case, English was the second, third or even sixth language spoken by each immigrant. As a result, some of the grammar, syntax or expressions that appear on the page may seem awkward at times to the formal English reader. I have been as meticulous as possible to maintain the integrity of the language that each individual used in describing his/her own experience. Each interview was recorded and transcribed word for word from the audio tape recordings. The language you are reading is the language I was listening to during the interviews, though not always in the exact same order. While these stories have been edited for cohesiveness, the words are those of each immigrant. In a few cases, I have had to edit sentences together for clarity, but I have tried my best to maintain the original intent and meaning of the speaker. Some words have been inserted in brackets to assist the reader in this process as well. Overall, my primary goal in this process was to preserve the authenticity of language, intention and self-expression of each person to the best of my ability.