Ellis Island is an island that is located in Upper New York Bay in the Port of New York and New Jersey, United States. It was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with land reclamation between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the site of Fort Gibson and later a naval magazine. The island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and has hosted a museum of immigration since 1990. Long considered part of New York, a 1998 United States Supreme Court decision found that most of the island is in New Jersey. The south side of the island, home to the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, is closed to the general public and the object of restoration efforts spearheaded by Save Ellis Island.
For many, Ellis Island was the beginning of our plight in America. The “Land of Opportunity” beckoned and immigrants (our ancestors) came to her teeming shores. There are many directions you can go with this: A beginning poem, an arrival poem, a poem from the perspective of an immigrants coming to this new (for them) land. You can write an “ancestor” poem, a genealogy poem… even a deportation poem!