In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island

By Edward Corsi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
PATHWAYS OF A YOUTHFUL IMMIGRANT

ELLIS ISLAND in 1907 represented a cross section of all the races in the world. Five thousand persons disembarked on that October day when my mother, my stepfather, and we four children landed there from the General Putnam.

We took our places in the long line and went submissively through the routine of answering interpreters' questions and receiving medical examinations. We were in line early and were told that our case would be considered in a few hours, so we avoided the necessity of staying overnight, an ordeal which my mother had long been dreading. Soon we were permitted to pass through America's Gateway.

My stepfather's brother was waiting for us. It was from him that the alluring accounts of opportunities in the United States had come to our family in Italy, and we looked to him for guidance.

Crossing the harbor on the ferry, I was first struck by the fact that American men did not wear beards. In contrast with my own fellowcountrymen I thought they looked almost like women. I felt that we were superior to them. Also on this boat I saw my first negro. But these wonders melted into insignificance when we arrived at the Battery and our first elevated trains appeared on the scene. There could be nothing in America superior to these!

Carrying our baggage, we walked across lower Manhattan and then climbed the steps leading to one of these marvellous trains. We

-22-

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In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Author's Note vi
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Part I 1
  • Chapter I I Behold America 3
  • Chapter II The Abruzzi 8
  • Chapter III Exile 11
  • Chapter IV A Career Ends in Glory 17
  • Chapter V The Migration 19
  • Chapter VI Pathways of a Youthful Immigrant 22
  • Chapter VII Life on the East Side 25
  • Chapter VIII A Summons to the White House 30
  • Part II 33
  • Chapter I Before Becoming Guardian of the Gate 35
  • Chapter II Great Sectors of the Caravan 39
  • Chapter III America Closes the Gate 47
  • Chapter IV Ellis Island's Romantic Background 57
  • Chapter V I Return to the Island 62
  • Part III 69
  • Chapter I A Picture of 1907 71
  • Chapter II Depression Turns the Tide 93
  • Chapter III America's Last Long Mile 96
  • Chapter IV Listening to Reminiscences 113
  • Chapter V Racketeers and Human Contraband 129
  • Part IV 149
  • Chapter I Vignettes Out of the Long Ago 151
  • Chapter II Matching Wits with John Chinaman 159
  • Chapter III Those "Bad, Bad Radicals"! 177
  • Chapter IV Royalty and Fakers in the Caravan 201
  • Chapter V Storms of the Present and Past 224
  • Part V 259
  • Chapter I Little Tales of Flood-Tide Days 261
  • Chapter II The Caravan's Most Amazing Character 268
  • Chapter III Who Shall Apologize? 281
  • Chapter IV The New Deal 296
  • Index 317
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