Share the journey
Living Voices | 3800 Aurora Ave. North, Suite 380, Seattle WA 98103 | 206-328-0798 FAX 206-328-4626 | livingvoices@livingvoices.org
Share the journey of The New American, from the turmoil of the old country, to the promise of America. The immigrant journey includes the steamship passage of 1910, the path through Ellis Island, the sweatshops of the lower east side of Manhattan. Learn what American liberty and opportunity means to people around the world.

Recommended Age:
4th Grade through University/Corporate.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

Immigration
US History (Ellis Island)
Irish History (Effects of the Potato Famine)
Multi Cultural Education
English
Literature
Creative Writing
Theatre / Drama
Media / Television - Film
THE STORY

The New American begins in rural Ireland where we meet Bridget Rose Fitzgerald, her father and her brother, Denny. The year is 1912. The Fitzgeralds barely manage to hold onto their farm in bad times. After Denny disappears in Dublin, Father is left with no choice but to send Bridget to America in hopes she will be able to send back enough money to save their home.

The program follows Bridget as she is placed in steerage on a steamship headed for New York. On board she makes a new friend and learns to weather the storms at sea.

At Ellis Island, Bridget is tagged and numbered. Thousands of immigrants are crammed into a huge, noisy facility. After a barrage of tests (including a painful eye examination) and a long list of confusing and embarrassing questions, Bridget is passed through and taken to Manhattan.

In New York Bridget is tricked
by an unscrupulous relative and is expected to clean a tenement for no pay. After a few weeks she finds refuge with an immigrant aid society and begins work at a sweatshop called The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. Bridget makes friends with an English girl at the factory and begins sending money home.

Bridget loses her friend when the factory burns down. She becomes a maid for a wealthy Irish American family and is able to continue to send back enough money to help her father. When he gives the farm to another cousin she is presented with the option to stay and become an American citizen.

After studying and passing the citizenship exam, and with her family obligations fulfilled, Bridget fully embraces her new home. . America.
Written by Rachel Atkins
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