Home | Posts RSS | Comments RSS | Login

we got back...

Monday, April 10, 2017
... on the ferry, and went over to Ellis Island.There are a lot of brick buildings, most of which appear to not be in use, with windows boarded up. The whole place looks neat and tidy, but does not give the impression of much activity taking place there.

If I am remembering the figures right, it seems like about eight million people were processed there when they got off boats desiring to enter the US. There were screenings for everything from eye infections, to questions about family history, literacy, mental status, criminal activity. A large hospital was used to treat a great variety of problems, before individuals were permitted to proceed on to their destinations.

Apparently many women, often with children would get off boats, and want to be reunited with husbands who had come over to find jobs, provide finances for family to move to the US. According to what I read in the museum displays there, authorities were fearful single or unaccompanied women would be taken advantage of once they were allowed to proceed into New York. So were usually held there on the island until someone came to 'collect' them and insure they were not accosted by evildoers.

And lots of people arrived with various diseases, illnesses, some contracted during travel, so were put into the hospital there on the island to receive treatment. While children were left without adult care, but confined to the island. There was a huge kitchen, large facilities similar to dormitories for people who were detained.

I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to leave a home in Europe, making your family deliberately homeless. Loading on a boat, enduring a terrifyinging crossing of the Atlantic, hoping to improve lifestyle in US, and arrive to the bedlam of Ellis Island. Not speaking English, struggling to keep luggage, all your earthly possessions together, and minding children. Frightened, confused, not understanding what is going on as you are directed through processing lines, being inspected for medical problems, questioned about background, history, family, education, intentions, destination. All while trying to keep small children under control and appear to not be scared out of your mind.

0 comments to we got back...:

Post a Comment