The American Journey © 2007

Chapter 20: Toward an Urban America

Student Web Activity

"Immigrant Life in America"

In this chapter you have read about the changing face of America's cities. Immigrants from "new" countries moved to the United States to escape persecution and economic hardships. Other immigrants were drawn to America by the promise of wealth and opportunity. Many of these new Americans, however, found poverty, hardship, and discrimination. In this activity you will take a closer look at the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay.

Destination Title: Angel Island
Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window.
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Start at the Angel Island home page.

  • Scroll down to find the heading "Points of Interest."
  • Click on Immigration Station and read the information presented.

Use the information on the site to answer the following questions.

When did the Angel Island Immigration Station open? Why was it built?
What happened in the 1870s that affected the immigration of people from China to the United States?
What were "paper sons" and "paper daughters"?
How did many detained immigrants express their feelings?
Pretend that you were an immigrant detained for several weeks on Angel Island. Write a poem that you might have brushed or carved on the wall. Express your feelings about leaving your homeland, being detained on this island so close to the land of opportunity, or your dreams for a new life.
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