The Immigrant Experience in America

Here's a recommended pathway to follow as you complete your Web lesson:
  • Begin with the Images from the AMERICAN VISIONS site:

    A Black and Tan Dive, c. 1889, Riis Collection
    http://www.masters-of-photography.com/R/riis/riis_black_and_tan.html

    5 Cents A Spot, c. 1889, Riis Collection
    http://www.mcny.org/Exhibitions/riis/riisc.htm

    One of Four Peddlers, c. 1890, Riis Collection
    http://www.thirteen.org/americanvisions/gallery/index.html

    Room in a Tenement Flat, 1910, Jesse Tarbox Beales
    http://www.thirteen.org/americanvisions/gallery/g_5.2.flat.html

    Questions to consider:
  • Who were the immigrants?
  • What were the age, gender, social class, and/or ethnic identity of the immigrants?
  • Where did they live and what were their living conditions?
  • Are there any clues about their working conditions?


  • View the images of Ellis Island.

    Questions to consider:
  • What was it like to pass through Ellis Island?
  • How did the Ellis Island experience compare or contrast with tenement life?
  • Read the report by a fifth grade student about Ellis Island and get ideas for your own essay.
  • How did it feel to be subjected to this treatment?
  • Did you expect a different experience?


  • Visit the Virtual Tenement.

    How would you describe life in a tenement? Try to make connections between this site and the American Visions site to add details and character to your essay.

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