The United States is a nation of immigrants. The country was founded mainly by Englishmen who were part of the European colonization effort of the 15-17th centuries. After the US was formed immigration continued to be an important part of its world identity as memorialized by the Statue of Liberty.
While you may argue otherwise, the Statue of Liberty mainly celebrates European immigration as we saw it happen at Ellis Island. Below is a video outlining what it was like to come through Ellis Island as an immigrant.
Unfortunately for many of you, the Statue of Liberty may not capture the spirit of immigration from your ancestors, especially if your ancestors didn't come from Europe. I have done some research to see if I can find other memorials or monuments in the United States that celebrate the immigration of those who were not from Europe and they are indeed difficult to find.
This is your opportunity to remedy that!
You are tasked with the responsibility to create a monument that celebrates the immigration of your ancestors. You should research where they came from, why they came, and what symbols would be culturally appropriate to use as part of the monument.
If your ancestors, like mine, did come through Ellis Island and are represented very well by the Statue of Liberty you can still participate. Create a new monument celebrating your ancestors too. This is an opportunity for you to make it more specific to your original culture. For example I could choose my Scots Irish ancestry to celebrate or my German/Jewish ancestry.
Make your monument with the following guidelines:
- Identify where your ancestors immigrated from
- Incorporate symbols appropriate for their original country
- Create a plaque that celebrates immigration. It doesn't need to be a poem like on the Statue of Liberty, but it does need to reflect your intent for the monument.
- Create a drawing of your monument or create a model of your monument. If you make a drawing, make it very detailed and include the words on the plaque.
- Show the pride you have in your family and the gratefulness you have for the sacrifices they made to immigrate.
- How would you memorialize your immigrant ancestors?
- Immigrants at Ellis Island (4:27)
- Statue of Liberty History (1:40)
- Other monuments and memorials to immigrants
- Talk to family members about how their ancestors came to the US
- Where did your ancestors emigrate from?
- Why did they come to the United States?
- What symbols should be used to celebrate their coming to the US?
- Do you feel represented by the monuments you researched?
- Create a monument that honors your ancestors journey to the US