Streets of Gold
. Toronto: General Publishing Co., Limited, 1981.
The fictional story of a 14-year-old Irish girl who came to America with her family in 1847. Tells her family’s experiences in finding a place to live, getting a job and prejudice. Also has positive aspects the family found in America such as educational opportunities and freedom.
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets
. New York: Fawcett Publications, Inc., 1960.
The story of a young Irish girl who lived in the urban slums at the turn of the century. Shows poverty and loneliness she experienced.
Judson, Clara Ingram.
New York: Houghton, 1946.
The story of an Irish boy in the 1850s, whose family came to Ohio. It tells about his adventures while he was working on the railroads.
McNab, Ann. “Philadelphia Greenhorn” in Cavanah, Frances, Editor.
We Came to America
. Philadelphia: Macrae Smith Company, 1954.
The first-hand account of a young Irish woman who came to America in the 1860s. She tells of the Potato Famine, her journey to the United States and her work as a cook in a literary woman’s home.
Shapiro, Mary J.
Gateway to Liberty
. New York: Random House, 1986.
Tells about construction of the Statue of Liberty. Also describes immigrants’ crossing to New York and conditions on ships. Many good photographs.
Watts, J. F.
. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988.
Discusses Irish immigration and describes living conditions. Also section on famous Irish-Americans. Many photographs and drawings.
Lesson Plan I
To use photographs of Irish-American families to develop thinking and writing skills.
Ellis Island, Coming to America, The Irish World, How the Other Half Lives
The students will each choose a photograph of an Irish-American family from one of the above books. After examining the photographs, the students will write about the people in the pictures.
Possible questions to answer while writing could include:
1. Who is in the photograph?
2. What are they doing?
3. Do they work? If so, where?
4. Where do they live?
5. What are their living conditions?
6. Who took the photograph?
7. Why was it taken?
8. What happened just before and after the photograph was taken?
9. What do the people in the photograph think and feel about their lives in America?
10. What do they think and feel about each other?
11. What do you think happened to these people in the future?
Lesson Plan II
The students will role-play to experience and understand the feelings of Irish immigrants going through the admittance process at Castle Garden or Ellis Island.
Readings of first-hand accounts of admittance process in
and examination of photographs from the book.
After discussion of the above, the students and teacher will decide on situations to role-play.
Some possible situations may be:
A husband, wife, and daughter are admitted to the country but their two-year-old son’s admittance is delayed for a further medical examination.
A mother and her three children are detained for further questioning and are not allowed to contact the father who is waiting to meet them.
An extended family of mother, father, children, and grandparents go through the admittance process. All are admitted to the United States except the father, who is soon to be deported back to Ireland.
After the role-playing, the teacher will lead the students in a discussion of how they felt during these situations. Since students sometimes have difficulty using a variety of vocabulary words to label feelings accurately, this could also be an opportunity for the teacher to assist them with vocabulary development.
Lesson Plan III
To compare attitudes and stereotypes of many native Americans toward 19th century Irish immigrants with those of many white Americans toward black Americans and how both groups deal with discrimination.
A Pictorial History of the Negro in America
Coming to America
, “Appeal to the Wealthy of the Land,’’ “The Irish in America,” and
How the Other Half Lives
Teacher and students discuss meaning of:
After reading selections from the above books and looking at photographs, the teacher will ask the students to make two comparative lists using a few words or short phrases:
How native Americans discriminated against Irish-Americans
How white Americans discriminated against black Americans
After giving the students sufficient time to make lists, the teacher and students will look at the similarities and differences in both lists. They can discuss possible reasons for the existence of prejudice and discrimination against both groups. If they wish, the students can share personal feelings or experiences of discrimination.
Next, the teacher could again ask the students to make two lists;
How Irish-Americans dealt with discrimination
How black Americans dealt with discrimination
Again, the teacher and students will discuss the similarities and differences. The students can also state which ways they feel to be positive and which ways are negative. If students wish, they can share with the class if they have ever used any of these strategies and if the strategies helped or hurt them.