Immigrants find homes in USA…

The first picture is Ellis Island,Between the years of 1892 to 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered the United States though Ellis Island, which is a small island in the NewYork Harbor. The immigrants were mostly European. In search for a better life, these immigrants came to the United States in hopes for finding jobs and making money.

The second picture shows these immigrants workings. These immigrants took on jobs of people in the United States, who did not want to work for less pay. Such job labor was including working for steel mills, textile mills and coal mines.  Only ten cents an hour working 55 hours a week were the cost of their pay. Even young children were working on these jobs. Between the years of 1890 – 1900 about 35,000 were killed on these jobs due to child labor.

The comparison between these pictures depicts that these immigrants traveled to Ellis Island to get into the United states just to form better life for themselves and their families. However, getting hard labor jobs for fraction of the pay of only ten cents an hour, and poor child labor cost these immigrants their lives.


New arrivals

The first image is portraying the lives of in Chinatown Mott Street in the 1905. The image was taken during the Chinese Exclusion Act, to date the only non-wartime federal law which excluded a people based on nationality, was a reaction to rising anti-Chinese sentiment. This resentment was largely a result of the willingness of the Chinese to work for far less money under far worse conditions than the white laborers and the unwillingness to “assimilate properly”.

The second image was taken in Ellis Island circa by 1905. It is describe that Ferry boats shuttled the immigrants from steamships directly to Ellis Island’s Main Registry Building. Ellis Island is a symbol of America immigration history.  Ellis island also known as” island of hope, island of tears. Because you pass the island, you have entered the U.S, and you will get hope; If you didn’t pass it, will be repatriated and is island of tears for you.


From China to Chinatown

As early as Colonial time, many Chinese has immigrated to colonies.  Although Chinese people were enslaved by colonist, they were part of the working class.  Until late 1800s, most Chinese people works at mine field and rail road sites.  Few Chinese people started small businesses.  In the following picture, A Chinese immigrant are selling lilies at China town.

This picture above depicted a Chinese immigrant’s life in US at 1900s.  This picture reflected the improvement of the Chinese Immigrant.


Struggles as an Immigrant

This is the room where immigrants wait during their examination process as Ellis Island.

Children are forced to work in factories in order to help the family.

Being an immigrant in the early 1900’s was simply horrible. Not only was it a struggle to be admitted into the country, but once in the country there are many more struggles ahead.  In the first picture, it shows immigrants at Ellis Island waiting for days just to go through an examination process. Once they enter the country, they have to start from scratch and make a living. Often time, it’s so difficult that children are employed in factories for very low wages. These children shown in picture two are usually treated poorly and have a high chance of death through their work at the factories.


Land of Hopes and Dreams

Photograph taken by Jacob Riis, depicting the cramped living condition's of the Irish immigrant's in 1889, New York

This photograph, take in 1910, depicts the arrival of russian-Jew’s in Ellis Island

Towards the end of the 18th century, the Russian Czar, Alexander ii was assassinated in the midst of implementing his reforms for the jewish community. After the assassination, riots began to form that mainly targeted the Jew’s and the jew’s were blamed for starting the riot’s. Due to the hate crimes that ravaged russia at that time, many Jew’s began to immigrate to different part’s of the world but mainly to the United States because of overly exaggerated rumor’s of hope and oppurtunities that can be achieved. By 1924, about two millon Jew’s immigrated to the United States to escape from persecution from their homeland.

Many Immigrants from Italy immigrated to the United State’s in search for a better life filled with economic oppurtunities. Many italian immigrants settled in different regions of America but most Italians settled in New York. By 1910 about 500,000 italian’s had settled in New York. Upon arriving, Italians occupied jobs that did not require much skill’s or education such as construction worker or janitorial services. As for their living conditions, their living conditions were horribly crowded and very unsanitary.


The Italian Immigrnats

Italian family arriving in NY in 1905.

An Italian woman ‘rag-picker’ in her living space, with her packs of junk, few possessions including her straw hat hung on the wall behind her, and a child in her lap.

Both of the people above are Italian immigrants, but the top one seems like have a better life than the woman at the bottom.During that period of time, if those immigrant can speak English and educated, probably they will have a easier life than the people who do not.


A Dollar And A Dream

Ellis Island

Immigrants at Ellis Island, circa 1900. Photograph: Bettman/Corbis

Mulberry Street 1900

Mulberry Street 1900 in New York’s 5 Points. Library of Congress photo

                The first picture is one of immigrants as they arrive on Ellis Island. They stand on line with there bags waiting to get processed. This picture represents hope. The immigrants left whatever struggles they were comming from in hope of a new, more sucessful life in the US. They come with nothing more than their bags and hope. 

                  The second picture overlooks one of the most dangerous places american history has ever seen.  The picture overlooks Mullberry Street, one of the streets in the infamous five points in NYC.  That picture represents what became a reality for many immigrants. They traded their domestic sufferings for foreign ones.  Their living spaces were overcrowded, their jobs remidial, and their dreams deffered.


Tenement life of the early 1900’s

Tenements in NYC circa 1900                              Tenement life; Photo by Jacob Riis 1910

These images show how the typical immigrant lived in New York City in the early 1900’s.  The first photo depicts how tenement life worked in the 1900’s.  It shows a crowded community in a very small area.  It also gives you the idea of a relative sense of community, after all the strings the clothes hang on do connect to other strings.  It can be a place to talk to your neighbors from each others windows and it seems to be a bright spot in a struggling immigrant’s life. People from many backgrounds all met in these areas and since they all lived in these same conditions they formed bonds with each other.   The second photo was taken by renowned photographer Jacob Riss and is a more dreary and accurate portrayal of immigrant life.  Entire families were packed into a single room, and that room was called their home.  These rooms were generally decrepit, cramped and full of chemicals that today are deemed extremely hazardous to health.  Families would often work out of these shoebox sized rooms; doing things such as tailoring and shoe-making.  It was a very tough life to live, but to them it was the only way to survive.


1910 Labor agency and American Express

Image Title: Living rooms of a tenement family near Hull House, Chicago, 1910 Creator: Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940 -- Photographer

1900. Made by Byron Company

The first image shows a scene in front of a labor agency. We can not see any women in the crowd, but there are children. This is representative of the current demographic structure on the labor market overall. In 1900, a census year, only 19% of working age women participated in the workforce, while in the same 1900 1.75 million children of age 10-15 y.o. were “gainful workers”. It was comparable with the amount of “non-white” workers, which totaled to 3.8 mln people (source: http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar02p1.htm). To put the dollar sums visible on the ad board into the context, the average price of bread in 1912 was 5.6 cents/pound (http://www2.census.gov/prod2/statcomp/documents/CT1970p1-06.pdf).
The second photo is showing women on Mulberry str., area heavily populated by Italian immigrants. The picture is very different from the first one, so I will not go into differences of the two photos. What I found interesting, however, was the sign in the background saying “American Express Company”. Turns out currency exchange was a big business because of the constant flow of new coming immigrants. Particularly there were a number of private exchangers on the Ellis Island, who were not always honest with their clients. In an attempt to control the flagrant practices US immigration department in 1905 made AmEx the first company officially authorized to handle currencies exchange for the immigrants on Ellis Island. Apparently they had branches in other areas of the city, as we see on the photo.


Checking from Coast to Coast

Chinese immigrant getting checked at Angel Island, San Francisco Bay

Immigrants receiving a skin test for infectious diseases at Ellis Island.

These images both portray immigrants being subject to checks of their current health. Whether you are coming form the East coast at Ellis Island or the West coast at Angel Island, immigrants get their health checked for any infectious diseases. Immigrants had to pass through numerous examinations before they can enter the States. It goes to show how much of a struggle it is to migrate to the United States. It’s a struggle just to leave your country, but then once you arrive, you must go through different examinations before you can enter.


Faith and Hope, Come to America

"Inspection room, Ellis Island, New York."

“Inspection room, Ellis Island, New York.” Between 1910 and 1920. Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920.

Bride Of An Iowan Farmer Coming To Her New Home

Both of these two pictures were taken in the 1910′, Ellis Island. The top one depicts the “”Inspection room,” where the immigrants pass through a detailed process of examination; the second portray was taken by a camera man during ten days of observation in the island, which portrayed a foreign bride of an Iowan farmer. We can see through the bride’s eyes that full of hope and faith in the future, dream of the new life in this magic land, become one of these freedom American. However, before she entitled to enter this free country, she have to pass this physical examination and the exam by an inspector who asks the long list of questions required by the law. Some might be inadmissible.


Immigrants being transported on horse-drawn wagon, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Immigrants in English class given by Training Service of the Department of Labor in Ford Motor Co. Factory, Detroit, Michigan 


 While both pictures give us a sense of people being in immigration, the second one tells us why United States was considered the best destination of immigration. Unlike other countries at that time, companies in the United States were more willing to spend money and time to train their immigrant workers. We can easily identify the different attitude of these two group of people. People in the upper one were more gloomy, probably worrying their future while those workers in the lower one seemed more eager to learn and more confident about their lives in the US.


Immigration to the Land of Opportunity

This is a picture of Hungarian immigrants taken from an article of the New York Times in 1905.

This is a picture of immigrants in their homes.

These two pictures show the hard lives of immigrants. In the first picture, we can see that these immigrants have probably just reached land. They appear to be disheveled, tired, and in rags. There are no visible pieces of luggage or suitcases or anything that would indicate extra clothing or supplies. They are only there with themselves, ready to work and hoping to make a decent living in a new country. In the second picture, we can see what it was like at home for some immigrants. The second picture depicts male immigrants taking time out of their day for a casual card game. It is obvious how little room there is in that apartments. Conditions for immigrants were tough, and many were simply not able to afford a large roomy apartment. Many times, numerous immigrant families had to live in one apartment. We can see from the second picture that the furniture int he apartment and other things are all cramped up in that tiny space.


The Uprising of Immigrants

An English and Yiddish sign asking for people to support the strike, by saying, “Help the garment workers in their fight for bread and freedom,” The Uprising of the 20,000, New York, New York: ca. 1910. From the Kheel Center at Cornell University.

Strikes on the picket line, The Uprising of the 20,000, New York, New York: February 2010. From the Library of Congress.

In the two photographs, it illustrates the dynamics of the Uprising of the 20,000 strike against the New York’s garment factories.  The strike, which began in November 1909, was the result of the incident at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company, where workers died because of the failure to  monitor the working environment. Immigrant workers, mostly Jewish women, were employed in the garment factories. In the first photograph from the Kheel Center at Cornell University, a sign in both English and Yiddish asked for people to support the garment workers win the battle in order to have “bread and freedom.” One of the primary concerns that the workers protested against their employers was safer working conditions. This photograph shows that the garment workers needed all the help and support they can get. The fact that the sign is in Yiddish shows how Jewish immigrants are deeply affected by the garment industry. In the second photograph from the Library of Congress, it shows two women on the picket line during the Uprising of the 20,000. These women look proud to be on the picket line as they are seen smiling at the camera. The women are portrayed to be bravely supporting their cause as they wear the signs with pride.

There are several differences in the two photographs. The first photograph was taken in Decemeber 1909, when the strike just begun. It may be an indication that the strike was not generating enough support yet, hence the sign on the shop. However, the second photograph was taken in February 1910, a few months into the strike. By this time, the strike was gaining recognition and respect for their cause. This is the reason for the gloomy mood in the first photograph. In the second photograph, it shows that people were not afraid to stand up for what they believe in as they march and protest for their rights. In addition, the first photograph focuses more of the impact the strike has on immigrants when compared to the second photograph.


The streets are paved with gold

Mulberry Street New York City, 1900, buying bread in “Little Italy”

              Immigrants that made the journey from their homeland into New York City typically moved to neighborhoods with the same ethnic background as themselves.  The streets were a very social setting much unlike today.  Modern day New Yorkers know that it is not uncommon to have no idea what your next doors neighbor’s name is.  The streets of “Little Italy” were filled with sales transactions, political view exchanges and general socializing everyday.  Finding work as an immigrant was never easy an easy task.  They had to take the worst jobs which included low paying wages, long hours and dangerous work.  It’s not clear in this lower picture but it is almost certain that this man four hundred feet in the sky is not wearing any safety equipment.  Through the hardship, immigrants pushed onward with the common goal of a better life, always helping each other along the way.                                                                                                                                                            

 Iron worker on the singer, 1908, Clarence Darrow


“This can not be what I signed up for!” Where are the Paved Streets of Gold!

Italian woman immigrant, Ellis Island, New York : Sherman, Augustus F. (Augustus Francis), 1865-1925 -- Photographer

Differing very little from their ancestors, many European immigrants came to the US seeking  a better life with a hope of economic relief.  The freedom of religion; escape from racial and/or political persecution.  Many did not dream that with the hard journey across the world, life in America would be full of extreme hardship.  Many of them had to endure low wages, poor work conditions and overcrowded living situations.  Yes it was better then there place of origin. Yet if life was too hard many immigrants went back home.

A tenement gleaner, New York City (1900-1937) Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940 -- Photographer

The two photograph above were taken in the early 1900s.  Both picture are similar in the aspect that both women seem as if they are very unhappy.  The woman sitting appears to be quite sad.  She seems like a well bred woman from Italy.  Whom may have came for all that America had to offer.  The woman carrying the large bag, by her dingy clothes seems  to be working or living in hard conditions.  She is an example of what America was offering.  I chose these photographs because of the differences and to show that many of the woman that came into the US during that time, had to work to survive, no matter what they believed the America was suppose to be like.

Anonymous Quote:  Recollections of 1900’s immigrant

“I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, found out three things: First, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all: and third, I was expected to pave them.”


Two Pictures Telling The Same Story

Chinese Exclusion Act: This Federal law suspended immigration, in specific Chinese immigration. This ban lasted for about ten years. The California Gold Rush marked the first mass Chinese immigration to the United States. Understanding this law is important to also understand the context of these two pictures. Both of these images represent the attitude and feelings against the Chinese immigrants. The White community in the United States considered themselves the “supreme race” and they clearly were not welcoming of people who were neither white or black. Does the fact that the “white” folks were the majority race, mean they had the right to discriminate against other minority groups? Obviously no, but this was not the popular view in the late 1800’s.

Invitation to ratify the Chinese Exclusion Act

The first picture represents a flyer which invites the white folks to come and ratify the Chinese Exclusion Act and suspend all immigration from South East Asia. The second picture similarly represents the anger the whites have for the Chinese, who continue to use their good work ethic to take the jobs of the “white folks.” This cartoon represents the California Gold Rush and the cheap labor Chinese immigrants provided to build the city infrastructure.

Chinese accused of talking the "white man's" job.

Invitation to ratify the Chinese Exclusion Act

Chinese Immigrants

A Chinese immigrant in in San Francisco Chinatown at 1911
A Chinese immigrant in in San Francisco Chinatown at 1911
Xingzhonghui established by Sun Yat-sen in Honolulu at 1894
Xingzhonghui established by Sun Yat-sen in Honolulu at 1894
When Chinese immigrants came to America, most of them still kept their own culture and wore as them in china with a queue to show their loyalty to the Manchu Qing emperor. However, the first Chinese revolutionary group, XinZhongHui was founded in Honolulu at 1894. One year later, This anti-Manchu fraternity start to rebel in canton. Unfortunately, this rebel was failed.



This picture depicts Chinese Immigrants forced to undergo an eye examination

This photo shows an Italian family arriving to the United States in 1905

The two photos above symbolize both Chinese immigration and Italian Immigration.Most of the immigrants who arrived from China were attracted to northern America for the gold rush, with time they began to open up their own businesses. In the first photo it appears as though the Chinese people were having something done against their will in order to be in the United States, this may also symbolize why there was a Chinese exclusion act that came about causing the Chinese population to drop to 62,000 in 1920.This act was a sign of hatred from americans and other immigrants. This exclusion act ended chinese immigration for nearly a century.

The second photo seems of a more peaceful way to come into the United States. The Italian family seems like they are coming in peacefully with no problems or re-enforcement as they arrive into Ellis Island. The primary reason for Italians to come into the United States was to escape the overcrowded population in Italy and to escape low wages and high taxes. From 1820 to 1978, Italian immigration amounted to 10.9 percent of the total foreign immigration.


Coming to America

This is a picture of the RMS Titanic. It was supposed to bring hundreds of immigrants to America, but sunk right off the American coast in 1912.

Emigrants coming up the board-walk from the barge, which has taken them off the steamship company's docks, and transported them to Ellis Island. The big building in the background is the new hospital just opened. The ferry-boat seen in the middle of the picture, runs from New York to Ellis Island. Taken in 1902.

The biggest differences about the two photographs depicted above is the classes shown. In the first picture, of the RMS Titanic, we see a massive ship that was intended for the upper class. Only the highest class were aboard this ship, and they have a wonderful journey, up until they hit an iceberg. However, if they had not hit an iceberg there travel would have been summed up as luxurious. In the second picture we see middle and lower class people arriving in America. Odds are their journey was much more difficult than the people aboard the Titanic. They look like they just had a hard journey, and they will probably have a hard life here in America as well.

When immigrants came to America it wasn’t easy. Most of them were discriminated against. A few of them came over with a lot of money, but for most it was a hard journey. Many people were even deported back to their home country if America didn’t want to accept them in. This happened if they had diseases, if they were prostitutes, or if they were seen as anarchists.