Monday, February 28, 2011

Jana High School

The School Website:

The Article:

This week’s task to find a K-12 website presenting the history of immigration in the 19th century was surprisingly difficult. I decided that I wanted to look at schools in Louisiana, because it is the second most poverty-stricken state in the United States (2004) but it was difficult to locate school websites. I found a list of all the schools in Louisiana but half of them did not have websites, just dead links. The ones that did have websites rarely had online reports written by the members of the school on any academic subject. If they did, it was unlikely for them to have anything on immigration. So I resorted in using links from the school in which they use for their classes.

I found Jana High School, a school in central Louisiana which had a variety of academic resources for the students to use. I feel that although the school community did not write the information themselves, having it on their website specifically for their students show that they believe in the article and what it stands for.

After the depression of the 1890s, immigration jumped from a low of 3.5 million in that decade to a high of 9 million in the first decade of the new century.”

The article gives a roundup of the nationality of the immigrants coming to America between 1880's to 1920's. First being the Europeans (mainly North & West Europe), as they had been for the past three centuries – although their numbers were decreasing. Moving up were the Canadians and Latin Americans who were in search of a better life. After 1914, immigration took a decline due to the war, and the newly introduced immigration restrictions.

The article goes on to state that the motives of these immigrations were all the same; escaping religious, racial and political persecutions and/or seeking a relief from a lack of economic opportunities from their home-lands.

Many were pulled here by contract labor agreements offered by recruiting agents, known as padrones to Italian and Greek laborers. Hungarians, Poles, Slovaks, Bohemians, and Italians flocked to the coal mines or steel mills, Greeks preferred the textile mills, Russian and Polish Jews worked the needle trades or pushcart markets of New York.”

The companies were able to understand the specific nationalities as they started migrating to the states. They learnt various types from the people they met.

Immigrants that could not travel first-class came to the States through Ellis Island, New York. The centre handled roughly 12 million European immigrants, working out as thousands a day. Many being turned down entry because of bad health, the fact that they may be carrying a disease, could be a criminal or being an anarchist.

I think that the children visiting this article will get the facts and figures that most immigration articles provide. But the thing that stood out for me was a quote from an Italian immigrant that summed up the disillusion that most felt:

I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, found out three things: First, the streets weren't paved with gold; second, they weren't paved at all: and third, I was expected to pave them.”

I think that many people believe in the “American Dream” and want their children to grow up with belief in them that anything is possible. But there are some that want to show the difficulties that they are going to be faced with. It isn’t a straightforward road to a happy life, and sometimes people give up.

In spite of the difficulties, few gave up and returned home.

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