Under the Tenement Rooftops: Immigrant and Migrant Families in New York
Instructor: Annie Polland
Capped at 20 students.
Ninety-seven Orchard Street opened in 1863 and housed a succession of European immigrants until the double blow of the Great Depression and the impact of the 1924 Johnson Reed Act forced the landlord to evict the tenants. Down the block, 103 Orchard, built in 1888, kept its doors open throughout the twentieth century, hosting Jewish and Italian immigrants in its early years, and Holocaust refugees, Puerto Rican migrants and Chinese immigrants in its later years. This mini course traces how immigration law impacted the residents of these buildings, and how they carved out new lives once they arrived. Census records, newspaper articles and oral histories will be used to bring the families’ situations to life and situate them in their contexts. A visit to these buildings—now home to the Tenement Museum—will focus on how primary sources from the Center for Jewish History shed light on a 1870s German Jewish family and a 1950s Polish Jewish refugee family.