Ellis Island of the South

In another life, one man owned blacksmith shops, a second sold mattresses, and a third labored as a skilled mason. Now the former Syrian patriarchs are standing nervously on a stage at the Clarkston Community Center in this Atlanta suburb, where the mayor and a local congressman are welcoming them.

The Syrian refugees have settled in this working-class town that has become a new Ellis Island for immigrants. Indeed, since 1983, the town has accepted and helped resettle about 60,000 refugees. Now comes another wave of outsiders—a group of Syrians that so many other places in the US have spurned. 

In many ways, Clarkston has emerged as one of the most successful resettlement communities in the world. Four out of five families who show up become self-sufficient within six months.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

'To Bless All Mankind'
Welcoming our neighbors
March 21, 2016

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