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Ronald H. Bayor

Autor(a) de The New York Irish

10 Works 136 Membros 4 Críticas

About the Author

Includes the name: Ronald Bayor

Obras por Ronald H. Bayor


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Bayor chronicles the political life of Fiorello La Guardia. The author has written a book that is clear, thorough, and interesting. Many of the issues that the country was confronting during La Guardia’s time continue to challenge America and its cities—racism, inequality, xenophobia, corruption, government debt, and more. There are lessons that can be learned from this book for those concerned about the state of the United States today.
mitchellray | Dec 17, 2018 |
Ronald Bayor, Encountering Ellis Island: How European Immigrants Entered America. Review on my blog:

With the Immigration Act of 1891 the federal government established a measure of control and order to immigration policy. The act replaced the aging Castle Garden facility in New York with the brand new Ellis Island, which was completed in 1892. This transition coincided with the shift in immigration from the traditional points of departures in northern Europe such as England, Germany, and Ireland to new sources in the eastern and southern parts of the continent, including Greece, Italy, Poland, and Russia. These “New Immigrants” included Catholics, Jews, and Orthodox who spoke indecipherable languages with strange alphabets. Although Bayor does not make any effort to tie the 1891 Immigration Act to the Long Progressive Era, it seems that one could attempt such an argument.

Much as recent headlines tell heartbreaking stories of immigrants who are taken advantage of, those of a century ago likewise experienced con artists out to rip them off. In one horrible example that Bayor recounts on page 25, a crooked captain dumped a boatload of Jewish Russian immigrants in Scotland. They thought they had landed in America. In other cases, immigrants who actually arrived in New York City were subjected to more routine scams and price-gouging fees connected with housing, job finding, and transportation.

Bayor describes both the inspection process and the services provided to immigrants at Ellis Island. Doctors provided mental and physical tests. Failure could lead to detention or deportation. This threatened to divide families, which could lead to very difficult decisions. There was an appeal process, but the agenda of the commissioner could significantly affect the zeal to which these policies were implemented. Detainees were provided food and living quarters, but these tended to be of a poor quality. From the descriptions provided, the food sounded most unappetizing. The Red Cross operated education facilities for immigrant children that put an emphasis on Americanization and English language instruction. Medical services were also provided. The hospital averaged 242 patients a day in 1906 (p. 99) to give one benchmark. Some recreational facilities, including a movie house and game rooms, were available to detainees.

Encountering Ellis Island chronicles the effect that changes in immigration law had for new arrivals. Bayor argues that the literacy test established in 1917 was poor policy that inadvertently gave preference to criminals who were literate, but excluded the workers that America needed at the time.

Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era will find Encountering Ellis Island a useful source on the immigrant experience. Genealogists will also find it valuable for the same reason. For those working on name changes, Bayor asserts that this did not happen at Ellis Island, a common myth in many a family lore. Name changes occurred either before leaving the old country or after departing Ellis Island in the new.
… (mais)
gregdehler | 1 outra crítica | Jul 3, 2015 |
Encountering Ellis Island explores the experiences of the millions of Europeans who flooded into the United States in the latter half of the 19th century and well into the 20th century. Mr. Bayor leaves no stone unturned in his coverage of the corruption and the confusion, the controversy and the chaos immigrants faced as they tried to enter the country. His research is thorough and his presentation of it is matter-of-fact. Throughout it all, he strives to debunk certain myths about what the immigrants faced.

One of the lessons learned by Encountering Ellis Island is the fact that immigration has always been and probably always will be exceedingly controversial. Immigration laws limiting who and how many were allowed into the country go back as far as the 19th century. This look into immigration law shows that things really have not changed over the century in that immigration continues to be a political hot button. However, it is the little differences, like the focus on productive members of society, which prove so interesting.

While the title intimates that Mr. Bayor’s book is solely about Ellis Island, in actuality he spends as much time discussing immigration from the West into Angel Island in San Francisco. The differences between the two experiences are startling and sad. While immigrants faced prejudices on both islands, the blatant racism against the Chinese on Alice Island is a blight on the immigration story, something Mr. Bayor presents without emotion.

Encountering Ellis Island breaks down the immigration experience from Europe to New York. It is at once fascinating and depressing. Based on their experiences on the ships, on Ellis Island, and beyond, it is a miracle anyone opted to immigrate to the United States. That so many did is a testament to their fortitude and ability to withstand confusing rules, corruption, and the organized chaos that was Ellis Island.
… (mais)
jmchshannon | 1 outra crítica | Apr 11, 2014 |


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