When I was doing the research for my picture book, I Was Dreaming to Come to America, I had the privilege to be present at a few interviews with people who had entered the US through Ellis Island. This is Jacob Levine, a Russian Jewish man who “stole the border” and emigrated from Russia in 1913, at the age of 20. To ‘steal the border’ means to sneak out of the country. Mr. Levine hid in a covered wagon to escape detection by border guards. In other words, he was a refugee, escaping religious persecution.
Mr. Levine settled in the Lower East Side of NYC, where he worked as a tailor and raised his family. He, and every other Ellis Island immigrant that I had the pleasure to meet, sang the praises of his newly adopted country, and was thankful for the chance at a renewed life in America.
posted by Veronica
Link to I Was Dreaming to Come to America: Memories of the Ellis Island Oral History Project is HERE.