Helen Hunt Jackson
Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885), activist for Native American rights and author of Southern California’s most enduring historical romance novel Ramona, was born and reared in Amherst , Massachusetts , a schoolmate and friend of the woman who would become Amherst’s most celebrated resident, poet Emily Dickinson. (Born Helen Maria Fiske, Jackson would be twice married: first to U.S. Army Capt. Edward B. Hunt who died in a military accident, then to William S. Jackson, a wealthy banker and railroad executive.) Jackson grew up in a literary environment, and was herself a noted poet and writer of children’s stories, novels, and essays (under the pseudonym H.H.H.), before turning her considerable intellect and energy to investigating and publicizing the mistreatment of Native Americans, especially the Mission Indians of Southern California
Sponsored by Vermont Congressman Justin Morrill, the Morrill Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 1862. Officially titled "An Act Donating Public Lands to the Several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts," the Morrill Act provided each state with 30,000 acres of Federal land for each member in their Congressional delegation. The land was then sold by the states and the proceeds used to fund public colleges that focused on agriculture and the mechanical arts. Sixty-nine colleges were funded by these land grants, including Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Jacob Riis was born in Ribe, Denmark in 1849, and immigrated to New York in 1870. Unable to find work, he soon found himself living in police lodging houses, and begging for food. The conditions in the lodging houses were so bad, that Riis vowed to get them closed. He worked in the poorest, most crime – ridden areas of the city. These were generally neighborhoods where immigrants lived in deplorable tenement houses. He began to bring a camera with him to document what he found in these neighborhoods, and the conditions in which these people lived. For this, Riis is considered to be one of the fathers of modern photojournalism.
Ellis Island, located in Upper New York Bay between New York and New Jersey, 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