America’s diverse culture was built on the lives of its native people and immigrants, beginning with the early settlements of the English and continuing through the arrival of enslaved Africans to Gadsden Wharf and the primarily European immigrants to Ellis Island. Each of these groups of people came from vastly different cultures and under vastly different circumstances. In this assignment, you are to step into the shoes of one of these immigrants and tell your story.
- Select an immigrant experience addressed in Unit 3 that you would like to explore further. Imagine your life as someone who has been in pre-20th Century America for a year or less. Discuss the cultural traditions and artifacts that you might have brought with you.
- Choose from one of the following; plan to avoid any that your ancestors might have experienced:
- A Jewish immigrant, transported in steerage and arriving in New York with only a suitcase to live in the ghettos
- An enslaved person of African origin, transported by ship and sold on the shores of America to live and work on a Southern plantation
- An indentured servant from Europe arriving in debt and working towards freedom.
- An immigrant from any other country traveling in steerage and landing at Ellis Island without any possessions and knowing no one. Describe their life in the big city, working on a farm, or traveling westward for an opportunity to succeed in your new land.
- Create a journal entry that includes:
- A biographical paragraph (give yourself a name, age, specific place of origin (where you came from), and economic status.
- A narrative (2 or more paragraphs) where you describe your daily life or the work you do or what you do for entertainment, what your family is like, etc. Think of this as an oral history you intend to pass down through the generations. What do they need to know about the life you lived? Use whatever sources you need to make the entry authentic.
- A reflective paragraph (or 2) where you present a specific message of peace and hope to future generations. What wisdom do you want to pass along to your children and grandchildren? What wisdom would you like to pass along to the future?
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