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The Great Migration

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  1. The Great Migration

  2. The Great Migration • Open Door Policy: anyone from anywhere was allowed to come to U.S. • immigrants who came after 1880 were mainly from Southern and Eastern Europe, Russians and Italians with names like Gambino, Silka, Pappas.

  3. Push and Pull factors

  4. Push and Pull Factors • Reasons why immigrants came to U.S. • Economic: no work, people are hungry • Political and religious persecution: • Jewish persecution in Russia: laws against Jews such as restrictions on work • Lure of life in America: • Word of mouth from family members: • “magical land of unlimited opportunity and riches” • “There is gold on the sidewalk and all you have to do is pick it up.”

  5. The Journey Across the Atlantic

  6. The Journey Across the Atlantic • Conditions on steamship: • Bare minimum of food, trip lasted 12 days. • “All you got on the boat was water, boiled water…Sometimes they gave you a watery soup, more like a mud puddle than soup.” • Stuck under the steerage of ship in cramped quarters often led to diseases. • “Everything was dirty, sticky and disagreeable to touch. “

  7. Arrival in America

  8. Arrival in America • 75% of all immigrants entered through Ellis Island, New York. • 1st look at Lady Liberty was very exciting to immigrants. • “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for liberty.”

  9. Medical Inspections

  10. Medical Inspections • Rich people didn’t have to undergo many inspections • Weed out immigrants who were sick. • Six second exam: watch you go up stairs to see if you limped. • Eye exam: peel eyelid with small metal hook for diseases. • Drew letter on shoulder indicating problems • H: heart problems, K:hernia, X:mental defect

  11. Legal Inspections

  12. Legal Inspections • Lasted two to three minutes where inspectors asked you questions like your name, where were you staying? • 2% of immigrants passing through legal inspections were deported. • For some people this was a horrifying experiences, “Why should I fear the fires of hell? I have been through Ellis Island.”

  13. Ethnic Enclaves

  14. Ethnic Enclaves • Communities that provide a sense of security, familiar customs, food, language of their homeland. • “In spite of making a choice of living away from Greece, I personally cannot ignore those events or those customs, or whatever it may be… Having some Greeks around is a very important thing.”

  15. Living Conditions

  16. Living Conditions • City streets covered with trash, waste, sewage. Tenements(apartments) were crowded and few facilities. • “I lived in a 3 bedroom apartment… with 14 people. At night the floor of the kitchen and dinning room were turned into beds.” • “To be in it… is to inhale the stenches of the neglected street”

  17. Working Conditions

  18. Working Conditions

  19. Americans’ treatment of immigrants

  20. Americans’ treatment of immigrants • Nativism: immigrants pose a threat to native-born Americans. They would take away jobs. • “The immigrants are invading the land of Americans, and whether [the Americans] know it or not are helping to take the bread out of their mouths.” • Helped pass quotas laws limiting # of immigrants coming to the U.S.