Friday, 26 August 2011

Ellis island

We took a trip to Ellis island, which used to be where all immigrants were held while the authorities decided whether they would be let into New York or sent home. It's worth a visit, it's very moving to think of what those people had to go through. And coming from a family that has moved around for the last 4 generations, it means a lot to me too.
Top image is the main hall where people would have had to wait to have their papers processed.
Middle image is an eye test to be used for people who were illiterate or whose language didn't use the European alphabet. People found to be ill, mentally or physically, or who were not able to support themselves, were sent home. The US also imposed quotas, different numbers for different countries, and once that number of people had arrived, all those behind them were turned away. Quotas for places like England were always disproportionately higher than places like China.
The bottom image is a campaign poster that would have been common around the turn of the last century.

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