Like the Irish immigrants who had come before them, Germans were needed for their manpower, but they were not welcome. German immigrants were in general, deeply religious, very vocal, and literate. On Sundays they tended to drink beer, play sports, and sing songs which the locals frowned upon. Some Protestants despised “Germans because many of them were Catholic and because their language, their Sunday pleasures and their stubborn belief in freedom of spirit branded them as unmistakably ‘foreign’”.9
Despite the prejudice of the early 1840s Germans in Newark flourished. Skilled German machinists “who came to New Jersey found employment in Thomas Edison’s Newark shops”.10 These skilled workers played an important part in the development of Edison’s inventions. Germans were not only working in the factories; they were also opening them. Germans such as Edward Balbach Sr. who saw an opportunity in the growing jewelry industry in Newark and opened a gold and silver refinery. The brewery industry was also growing. There were at least eight breweries in the German section of the city, and most of the lager in Newark was produced by Germans.11
Germans were also involved in education and supporting the arts. They opened schools and formed singing societies. In 1856, the first nonsectarian school opened on Broad Street, where students were instructed in free-hand and linear drawing, alge...
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...eign born. Among foreign born individuals, the largest group at 50.2% were Hispanic/Latino. Within this group the top three places of origin were, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.18 These new immigrants come to Newark seeking a better life for themselves and their families. They work in various sectors, startup businesses, make old neighborhoods their own, and call Newark home.
The stories of the earliest and the newest immigrants live on through guided tours, exhibits, oral histories, photographs, artifacts, videos, prints and interactive displays at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, which is housed in the main building of the former immigration station. Visitors there will get to better understanding of the immigrant experience, and discover why these brave souls journeyed to America and why they chose Newark as their final destination.
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