Who gets accepted as a citizen or as an immigrant? Who is considered a desirable immigrant? This lesson plan examines the arrival of newcomers, and the history of the entry process, within a unit on the Geography, History, and Peoples of North America. Students use primary source images and texts to investigate the answer to this question for Ellis Island in the 1900s and then present evidence with supported claims. Students research the race and disability distinctions of the period in official charts, editorial cartoons, photographs, and other primary source materials from the Library of Congress and Ellis Island/National Park Service archives. The lesson is made vivid by the task of deciding whether a particular individual described in a biographical sketch would likely be admitted or denied entry, according to the 29 questions asked by immigration officials at the time. Download PDF.
1881 – 1936