The Journey to America

Immigrants to America 1902*

*click on picture to reach America: The Great Melting Pot

View the left panel for information about specific ethnic groups. Study the pictures and read quotations.

Ship Conditions: Read about ship conditions in the early nineteenth century.

The Journey: Learn about the immigrants trip across the ocean. Take a long look at the famous painting by Knut Ekwall.

Task 2-Free Verse "Traveling" Poem

In the 1880s, America was beginning to feel the effects of the greatest wave of immigration in its history. Millions of people-- many of them impoverished peasants from Eastern and Southern Europe--were pouring into the country, most of them through the port of New York. The Statue of Liberty--dedicated in 1886-- seemed like a giant beacon in the harbor, welcoming them to the land of freedom.

You will write a free verse poem about your journey to America and your feelings about finally arriving in your new homeland. Include your thoughts and feelings as you approach America (and see the Statue of Liberty, if you are entering through Ellis Island).

There is nothing difficult or mysterious about writing poetry. Your poem can be long or short. It will tell the story of your voyage to America. It doesn't have to rhyme unless you want it to. You can even put it to music.