Sculptor Luis Sanguino (b. 1934) celebrates the diversity of New York City and the struggle of immigrants in this heroic-sized bronze figural group. The sculpture depicts figures of various ethnic groups and eras, including an Eastern European Jew, a freed African slave, a priest, and a worker. The figures’ expressive poses emphasize the struggle and toil inherent in the experience of the immigrant or dislocated person.
The sculpture is located at the south end of the Eisenhower Mall in Battery Park near Castle Clinton, which served as a processing facility for newly arrived immigrants from 1855 to 1890, when construction began on a larger, more remote facility at nearby Ellis Island. The piece was donated by Samuel Rudin (1896–1975), who commissioned the sculpture in the early 1970s, intending it to be installed near Castle Clinton as a memorial to his parents, who, as it is noted on the plinth, emigrated to the United States in the late-19th century. Although Rudin died in 1975, Rudin’s family took up the campaign to install the sculpture at the park, and it eventually was dedicated on May 4, 1983.