Today, five major airports (Kennedy-New York, O’Hare-Chicago, Newark, Hartsfield-Atlanta and Dulles-Washington D.
C.) receive 94 percent of all visitors from African nations.
A sharp-eyed doctor would then inspect their nails, skin and scalp for fungal infections including the stubborn ringworm.
Those who appeared “odd” or who could not follow directions (not a rare occasion given relatively few of these travelers spoke fluent or any English) were scrutinized for mental acuity and evidence of “psychopathic” tendencies.
Still, every immigrant coming to Ellis Island knew someone, or someone who knew someone, who was sent back because they suffered from this or that disease.
And most of all, every immigrant feared the uniformed U. Public Health Service doctor whose every word and action had the potential to instantly change their lives for the better or the worse.
Between 18, the percentage of immigrants rejected for a medical condition, including psychiatric, chronic as well as infectious diseases, was miniscule, less than 1 percent.
A small number of these immigrants were treated at the Ellis Island; even more were sent back to their native land at the expense of the steamship company that brought them to the New World.
15, 1966 marked the day that Ellis Island (along with Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty) was officially listed on the U. When tourists enter its Great Hall they can still see the large American flag hanging on the northern wall and, across the enormous chamber, the tall clerks’ desks where thousands of passports were stamped daily, each with an echoing and resounding force.
Noise is resoundingly absent at Ellis Island today.