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Transcript of Immigration Project
The Story of Guiseppe Carpaccio
My name is Giuseppe Carpaccio. I am 36 years of age, and have a wife and a son. In 1902, my family and I were poor farmers, along with 80% of the Italian population. Our tools were inefficient, and many diseases killed our people. Many insects also destroyed our crops. We decided to gather up the little money we had and bought tickets to go to America. Everyone had heard stories of the American dream. There were many opportunities there, and a chance for a better life.
The Trip to America
We had gotten our bags that we would be bringing over to America, and loaded them onto the ship we would be taking, the S.S. India. Most immigrants, along with us, were steerage passengers because they were the cheapest tickets. In steerage, it was dark, cold, crowded, and many people were sick. It took a long 3-4 weeks to make the trip. We had arrived at Ellis Island. The first step to becoming an American.
When we arrived at Ellis Island, we were very scared and anxious for what was going to happen. Firstly, we were lead through double doors at the top of a large staircase where we were inspected by medical examiners. They checked us for trachoma (eye infection), lice, and physical problems such as lameness, back problems, and skin disease. My wife and I passed the examinations, but my 13-year-old son had caught a virus on the ship. The cruel officials sent him back to Italy alone, even after I begged for him to stay.
Life In America
My wife and I had made it out of Ellis Island and started our life in a tenement in Little Italy. This was a place in southern Manhattan where an Italian community had been created by Italian immigrants like us. We had thought we started a decent life, with me being hired into a steel factory, and my wife working in a sweatshop in Manhattan. But I worked for about 13 hours a day and only made $8.50 a week. My wife worked 16 hours a day, but barely made $2.00 a day. It was hard work, but we were desperate for the money. It wasn't the American dream we expected, but it was better than our poor farm life back in Italy. As I was just getting used to everything, a tragic event took place in the sweatshop my wife was working in. A fire broke out killing 114 women, my wife among them. Since then, I haven't tried to improve my working conditions by joining any labor union, because of my fear of losing even more than I already lost.
By Sanam Muhayya, Julianna Tromba, and Andre Tan