Symbolic of the feeling or tone of the writing I am not grading on ability, but I am looking for neat, thoughtful drawings. Please use some use color in the drawing. Target

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Directions: Read through each of the following impressions of new immigrants arriving in the US. As a group, choose the one that you feel you can capture in a drawing. The drawing need not be an exact match of the words. It can be symbolic of the feeling or tone of the writing. I am not grading on ability, but I am looking for neat, thoughtful drawings. Please use some use color in the drawing.

Target: Describe the journey immigrants endured and their experiences at United States immigration stations.

I Was Dreaming of Coming to America

“My first impressions of the new world will always remain etched in my memory, particularly that hazy October morning when I first saw Ellis Island. The steamer Florida, 14 days out of Naples, filled to capacity with 1,600 natives of Italy, had weathered one of the worst storms in our captain’s memory. Glad we were, both children and grown-ups, to leave the open sea and come at last through the narrow into the bay. My mother, my stepfather, my brother Giuseppe, and my two sisters, Liberta and Helvetia, all of us together, happy that we had come through the storm safely, clustered on the foredeck for fear of separation and looked with wonder on this miraculous land of our dreams.”

Edward Corsi


Arrived in 1907 – age 10

“I feel like I had two lives. You plant something in the ground, it has its roots, and then you transplant it where it stays permanently. That’s what happened to me. You put an end. And forget about your childhood; I became a man here. All of a sudden, I started life new, amongst people whose language I didn’t understand…[It was a] different life; everything was different… but I never despaired, I was optimistic, and this is the only country where you’re not a stranger, because we are all strangers. It’s only a matter of time who got here first.”

Lazarus Salamon


Arrived in 1920 – age 16

“Coming to America had meaning. I was a kid of seven and in contrast to what I had gone through, Ellis Island was like not a haven but a heaven. I don’t remember any fright when I got to Ellis Island. My father’s dream and prayer was ‘I must get my family to America’…America was paradise, the streets were covered with gold. And when we arrived here, and when we landed form Ellis Island and [went} to Buffalo, it was as if God’s great promise had been fulfilled that we would eventually find freedom”

Vartan Hartunian

Turkey (Armenian)

Arrived in 1922 – age 7

“Most dear to me are the shoes my mother wore when she first set foot on the soil of America… she landed in America in those shoes and somehow or the other she felt that she was going to hang on to them. They are brown high-top shoes that had been soled and resoled and stitched and mended in Sweden to hold them together till she could get to America. We just kept them. And then… as I grew up and everything, I said, ‘don’t throw them away.’”

Brigetta Headman Fichter


Arrived in 1924 – age 6

There is just so much confusion… We had interpreters and most of them were the Traveler’s Aid. Let me tell you, they’re wonderful. They helped us in every way they could and reassured us, which we needed very badly. Especially, like when we were getting off of Ellis Island, we had all sorts of tags on us – now that I think of it, we must have looked like marked-down merchandise in Gimbel’s basement store or something. ‘Where are you going, who’s waiting for you?’ and all that and then we were put in groups and our group was going to the Erie Railroad station in Jersey City.”

Ann Vida


Arrived in 1920 – age 10

“I never saw such a big building [Ellis Island] – the size of it. I think the size of it got to me. According to the houses I left in my town, this was like a whole city in one, in one building. It was an enormous thing to see, I tell you. I almost felt smaller than I am to see that beautiful [building], it looked beautiful. My basket, my little basket, that’s all I had with me. There was hardly any things. My mother gave me the sorrah [kind of sandwich], and I had one change of clothes. That’s what I brought from Europe.”

Celia Adler


Arrived in 1914 – age 12

“When I was about 10 years old I said, ‘I have to go to America.’ Because my uncles were here already, and it kind of got me that I wanted to go to America, too… I was dreaming about it. I was writing to my uncles, I said I wish one day I’ll be in America, I was dreaming to come to America…. And I was dreaming, and my dream come true. When I came here, I was in a different world. It was so peaceful. It was quiet. You were not afraid to go out in the middle of the night… I’m free. I’m just like a bird. You can fly and land on any tree and you are free.”

Helen Cohen


Arrived in 1920 – age 20

“My father, who had by now moved form New York to Milwaukee, was barely making a living. He wrote back that he hoped to get a job working on the railway and soon he would have enough money for our tickets… I can remember only the hustle and bustle of those last weeks in Pinsk, the farewells from the family, the embraces and the tears. Going to America then was almost like going to the moon… We were all bound for places about which we knew nothing at all and for a country that was totally strange to us.”

Golda Meir


Arrived in 1 906 – age 8

“It was quite a large embarkation, but it was crowded with immigrants, especially the third class – the so-called steerage class – it was very crowded. But we managed [the] time between meals was spent on the deck if the weather was good. In the evening there was usually dancing and music. Some immigrant would always come out with a harmonica or some musical instrument and the dance would follow. And during the day, of course, there were always acquaintances to be made, discussions about America, the conditions in America, and preparation for life in America. Right among the people themselves, I circulated around quite a bit, I know a few words in English, in French, and in German already at that time, so I was able to understand some of the talk, even from the sailors.”

Paul Sturman


Arrived in 1920 – age 16

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