The History of Ellis Island New York: Vintage Immigration

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This 1946 film describes the history and process of European immigration to the United States until 1924 when a restrictive immigration bill was passed. Produced by Encyclopedia Britannica, there is a mixture of actual footage, maps showing the flow of immigration, and reenactments. In one such reenactment, footage captures a scene from a European steamship office that shows the different motivations and immigration issues - religious, political, or economic, that may have driven many Europeans to emigrate. Scenes of Jews being turned out of their houses and of people laboring in fields further illustrates this point. There are also many great scenes from Ellis Island and New York City, including documentation lines, doctor examinations, immigration and naturalization services, and city tenements. This is a nice Ellis island history video, which details the immigration experience. The film notes that these immigrants were helped by the trade unions to learn to work together. Newly naturalized citizens are shown raising their right hands in front of a judge in a courtroom, and the film ends by showing a panning shot of the Statue of Liberty. Typical of the time period, the film glosses over the concerns of Native Americans and immigrants who weren't white. But this only serves to make the film more historically enlightening, as an exploration of racism in American history. But mainly the film is full of great Ellis Island immigration stories.

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