I was moved by many things on the Ellis Island trip. First being the ferry ride, I have a great fear of boats, and the ride that had lasted only about 25 minutes was the worst. I could only imagine how people felt being on board a ship for weeks to travel to America. It couldn’t have been an easy voyage, having to travel with hundreds of other people crammed on a ship. Hoping you will make it to your destination and wondering what lies ahead. Also the ships weren’t as advances as ships are today, it must have been hard travelling through bad weather. Many people could have gotten sick, causing them to not be able to enter into America once they got here.
Another thing that I was moved by on the island was the room where you could see the belongings of different families that traveled to America. You could see the diversity in each and every single different person simply on the items they carried. The photographs, toys, religious items, and kitchen items. You could see the cultural differences in the clothing worn, the different languages, and the religion. People from the entire world who are different in so many ways have traveled here all for one thing, the same thing. To better themselves, their lives, and the lives of their future generations.
One last thing that really did moved me was a room that had a test to see if you were allowed out of the island and into America or not. I personally failed the test for not being married and not having a job. I could not even imagine how someone would feel traveling for so long to only be rejected and told that they had to return home. All that traveling and hard work for nothing, to have to return home for something as simple as not being married. It’s a terrible thing to know people went through this every day. To know that many people who dreamed of finally being free, could not be free simply because they were not good enough to enter the country based on Americas idea of being good enough or not. I find that ridiculous as well. At that time America was sure to have many people who did not work or were not married. What would the difference be to let someone from a different country enter and live here if they weren’t married or did not have a job? What’s to say they wouldn’t find a job, or that a woman wouldn’t find a husband to support her?
This trip really has opened up my mind about how things were for people in the past, it has also made me think more about how everyone is really an immigrant born here or not. Everyone has ancestors who have traveled from all around the world. Yet, today there is still racism. African Americans were brought here on slave ships, yet they’re treated by many like they want them out. Yet we are the ones who brought them here in the first place. People traveled here for freedom, and to live happily. It seems that people forget the reason they are here today. No one ever really seems to ask them self, what if so and so never immigrated here. I believe some lives wouldn’t be as easy as they are now. Regardless if ones ancestors came to America through Ellis Island or immigrated at a later time, we are all immigrants, and can never forget were we come from. We can never forget what got us here today.