Mr. and Mrs. Burke came through Ellis Island from Barbados. I always thought my grandfather was a white man but just two weeks ago my grandmother told me he was a black man; I was surprised by this in all my years living with him I thought he was a white man, well he looks white. When I mentioned to bring the picture of his grandparents, he claims his grandparent’s names are written somewhere in Ellis Island and the picture was taken in 1910 or 1918. My grandfather also told me that the child in the picture is his uncle but he doesn’t remember his name, he said he thinks it’s Cauldwell. The child supposedly died a year later because during that time there was an influenza epidemic. When I looked at the picture I thought the child was a girl but my grandfather seemed to be confused because he is the only one left alive on his side of the family. He remembers very little about his family side because he is very old.
This picture is significant to my family because my grandfather is the only one left on his side and by talking to him about the picture gives my family members and I information about our family background. I often ask myself why am I the darkest one in my family? Everyone one looks Spanish or Caribbean. They look so fancy and well-mannered in the picture, but they're not smiling. When his grandmother came to America an official from Ellis Island told his grandfather, “She is too pretty to be here alone, you better marry her."
– Emerald Sanjurjo