Guiding Question:

What rights were Mary's family looking for in America that they didn't have in Russia?


The Wood Market, Polotzk

Imagine that you have just found out you are going to be leaving your home country, Russia, to start a new life in America. The only information you have about America is from letters you have been sent from family members already living there, and amazing stories you have been told by others living in your community.

The house where Mary Antin was born in Polotzk, Russia.  p. 80 of The Promised Land

You have never seen any real pictures of America. The only world you know is a small, rural village in a region of Russia called The Pale. As a poor Jewish family in Russia, life has not been easy. Taxes are high and rights for Jewish people are limited.

What rights and freedoms do you and your family expect to find in the United States that you do not have in Russia?

Header Image: Immigrants on Ellis Island Facing Statue of Liberty, Courtesy of TRITEC/Ellis Island

Top Image: The Wood Market, Polotzk; from From Plotzk to Boston, by Mary Antin, p.52

Bottom Image: Mary's grandfather's house where she was born , from The Promised Land, by Mary Antin, p. 80.