America is an extraordinary country. Prior to the Asians who came to the Western hemisphere millennia ago were peoples from what is now Africa. The Africans were members of the original human diaspora. They sought new lives for themselves and their descendants, as did the Asians and their descendants whom we call Native Americans. Like Europeans who came later, both groups were explorers.

All of them were searching for new lands. Many — not just the Europeans whose history we know best — were escaping social, political and economic hardships. The Puritans were hardly the first to land in the…