our journey to america

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Our Journey to America. The long, hard journey to freedom………. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Our Journey to AmericaThe long, hard journey to freedomMany immigrants had brought on board balls of yarn, leaving one end of the line with someone on land. As the ship slowly cleared the dock, the balls unwound amid the farewell shouts of women, and the fluttering of the handkerchiefs, and the infants held high. After the yarn ran out, the long strips remained airborne, sustained by the wind, long after those on land and those at sea had lost sight of each other."

"Oh God, I was sick. Everybody was sick. I don't even want to remember anything about that old boat. One night I prayed to God that it would go down because the waves were washing over it. I was that sick, I didn't care if it went down or not. And everybody else was the same way."

A ship steamed into New York Harbor in 1905. Hundreds of excited immigrants crowded on deck. They spoke different languages, but this morning there was only one word, America. There she is! someone shouted!

New arrivals were taken by ferry to the main building at Ellis Island. Opened in 1900, the first immigrant to arrive was a 15-year-old girl from Ireland named Annie Moore to join her parents in New York City

And the first meal we got - fish and milk, big pitchers of milk and white bread, the first time I saw white bread and butter. There was so much milk, and I drank it because we didn't have enough milk in my country. And I said, 'My God, we're going to have a good time here. We're going to have plenty to eat.

Immigrants entered the main building through its ground floor baggage room. They left their trunks, suitcases and baskets here until they were finished. Immigrants with only a few belongings carried their things as they climbed the stairs to the Great Hall for medical and legal examinations.

The first test the immigrants had to pass became known as the "six second medical exam." As the immigrants climbed the stairs to the Great Hall, doctors stood at the top and watched. They were looking for anyone having difficulty coming up the steps. If a medical problem or disability was suspected, one of seventeen different chalk marks was put on the person's clothing. They were then sent for a full physical examination. If they weren't marked, they went on to wait in the Great Hall to be processed and then exited down the Staircase of Separation when they were finished.

My sister developed warts on the back of her hand so they put a chalk 'X' on the back of her coat. The Xs were put aside to see whether they had to be reexamined or deported. If they deported my sister we couldn't let her go.The eye exam

"They asked us questions. 'How much is two and one? How much is two and two?' But the next young girl, also from our city, went and they asked her, 'How do you wash stairs, from the top or from the bottom?' She says, 'I don't come to America to wash stairs.

In the money exchange area immigrants exchanged the money of their homeland for dollars, and purchased any train tickets they needed. Laws passed in 1909 required each immigrant to have at least 20 dollars before they were allowed to enter America.

"I saw this man coming forward and he was beautiful. I didn't know he was my father. Later on I realized why he looked so familiar to me. He looked exactly like I did. But that's when I met him for the first time. And I fell in love with him and he with me."

Just beyond the money exchange was the exit from Ellis Island. Staff members referred to this spot as the kissing post because of all the emotional reunions that were witnessed there. Two thirds of the new Americans then boarded a ferry to New Jersey, where the next leg of their American journey would begin. The remaining third took the ferryboat to Manhattan to begin their new life in New York City, only one mile away.