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CHC 2 Spring 2010
Our projects for this semester are based on immigrant experiences in New York and our own identities as descendants of immigrants. The immigration process is addressed at JFK airport and compared to immigrant experiences in Ellis Island. Then, the local communities of Flatbush and Williamsburg are explored. Finally an overview of Arab Americans in NYC covers their adjustment to life in the region. With insightful interviews, nostalgic pictures, and helpful statistics, a broader picture of immigrant life is established.

Intro Video Sources

The Process

Arab Americans and New York City
In our CHC class this semester, our group conducted research on Arab Americans in different parts of the city. We focused on Brooklyn and Queens because these two counties are the most populous locations for Arab Americans in this country. We broke down our research into three main categories: Reasons for Arab American Immigration, Effects of 9/11 on Arab American life in the US, and Effect of the Economy and Recession on Arab Americans. Arab Americans came here for many different reasons in different time periods for economic stability, religious freedom and political equality. 9/11 functioned as a setback for Arab Americans in terms of the way that they were treated in society as well as immigration. Finally, the recent economic recession has affected Arab American businesses negatively, and has caused added struggles to this group of immigrants.

Jews in Flatbush
We have spent the semester researching the Jewish Immigrants of Flatbush. The story is told first hand by our Jewish Immigrant interviewees. We learned that many Jews left their homelands for similar reasons, let it be oppressive governments or economic troubles. Although the Jewish Immigrants of Flatbush come from a host of foreign places, all now call Brooklyn their home. They now understand true democracy, and can live freely. Although most Jewish Immigrants suffered from a host of struggles, all see that their effort was well worth it. The Immigrants we interviewed immigrated as children. The struggles they faced are unique to children but common amongst all the immigrants we interviewed. Many of us are first generation Americans if not immigrants ourselves. We must listen to the stories of our elders to truly understand why New York City is the diverse city it is today.

JFK Airport
Our group compared the immigration process from Ellis Island to John F. Kennedy Airport. Most immigrants came to Ellis Island for a better life and opportunities. We learned that the reasons for immigration have not changed from Ellis Island to current times. We researched the Immigration Laws and prerequisites for immigrants coming to live in this country. Since the 18th century there have been many restrictions placed on immigrants entering the United States. We also discovered the procedures for immigrants specifically from India and Egypt and Haiti. Each immigrant begins the journey in their own country with a story behind their reasons for leaving. As they pack up, they must think about how they will come to New York and what they need when they get here. We produced a multimedia presentation of the story of two immigrants incorporating our interviews and research.

Williamsburg We wanted to find out more about the Williamsburg neighborhood, in terms of its development and demographic change over the last century. By conducting sevral interviews we were able to get a glimpse of what Williamsburg was like in the 1930's, '40s and '50s. We focused mainly on the emergance and continued existance of a Jewish Community in Williamsburg. There were two main waves of Jewish immigration into Williamsburg: One after the opening of the Williamsburg bridge in 1903, when many Lower East Side resdients moved across the bridge, and the other after World War II, when many Displaced Persons and Refuges came from Europe, fleeing the Holocuast. The medium we chose to present our overall project and interviews with is short movies that can be viewed on the Williamsburg Page.

Class Photo

View pictures from our Walking Tours, which we participated in throughout this course!
Walking Tours