Posts tagged immigration stories
The Royalty of Brooklyn

Grandma Helen was my fancy grandmother. Born in 1909, she was the firstborn child of Julius and Mary Nelson’s five children and her tall, blue-eyed father liked to tell her that her birth brought him luck. After Grandma arrived, Julius went from selling newspapers in Harlem to learning the trade in his wife’s family’s coat business. A quick study, he started his own successful women’s coat business using the profits to invest in real estate. Eventually, in 1931, Julius developed one of Manhattan’s first skyscrapers, a 46-story art deco tower designed by architect H. Craig Severance.

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My Immigration Story

My family lived in a village outside of Dohuk, Iraq (Kurdistan) in the fall of 1988. I was 1.5 and my brother was 3 weeks old. Neighboring villagers rushed to come tell us that Sadamm and his army was on the move and we needed to leave. We left with the clothes on our backs and fear in our hearts. The journey on foot over the treacherous mountains seemed to take forever. We finally made it across the border to Turkey and settled in a refugee camp in Mardin, Turkey.

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