February 13, 2007
Just a sentence or two to remind ourselves
that we are all children or grandchildren of
immigrants. The rich and the not so rich were
all immigrants once. Everything we are is owed
to those who came from other places.
the following text is taken from a National Geographic book titled AMERICAS HISTORYLAND
The statue of liberty national monument rises 300 feet above New York Harbor to lift her lamp "beside the golden door." Within her copper form, hued green by time's alchemy, visitors climb a spiral stairway to peer from windows in her massive crown. Masterpiece of Alsatian sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, gift from France, this "Mother of Exiles" inspired poet Emma Lazarus whose words adorn the pedestal. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe fee...
Standing in the center of old Fort Wood on Liberty (Bedloe's) Island, the 225-ton statue tends freedom's greatest portal. She has been strengthened, her torch brightened since her unveiling in 1886 at the flood tide of immigration. In the 19th century, famine and strife sent torrents of aliens to the United States. Let them come, exulted Emerson: The energy of Irish, Germans, Swedes, Poles, and Cossacks, all the European tribes,-and of the Africans, and of the Polynesians-will construct a new race, a new religion, a new state, a new literature."
From 1855 to 1890 more than seven million strreamed through Castle Garden, New York. Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Honolulu established other depots. But Ellis Island, New York, outstripped them all. By the time it closed in 1954 after 62 years, 20 million immigrants had poured in. Before quotas checked the flow, men claimed that for every steamship arriving, teeming with passengers, a new steel plant rose in Pennsylvania, a new textile plant sprang up in Massachusetts, and 1000 more pick-and-shovel men pushed railroads west from Chicago.