THE BRONX – A Jamaican-born New Yorker and teacher is writing a book about the stories of immigrants who attempted to achieve the American Dream.
Cecil Wright is also sharing his own immigration story in a new book that aims to shed light on the motivations of people who come to the United States.
It’s called “21 Days to Freedom” and also features stories of people he met while being detained by immigration authorities.
“I was a brilliant young man growing up in my country, but I knew if I wanted to be successful I had to have the opportunities to go to college,” Wright says.
Because he couldn’t go to school in his native country, he emigrated to Canada and crossed the United States border in the trunk of a car.
“I thought it was going to be 15 minutes, it ended up being about an hour and half,” Wright says. “I almost passed out. I don’t remember everything after a while.”
He woke up in Detroit, took a Greyhound bus to the Bronx and settled in Edenwald. He took on multiple jobs and worked his way through college.
“I was selling carpet vacuum cleaners. I was cleaning people’s houses. And I also drove a cab in the Bronx to pay for school,” he says.
Years later, he says he was detained my immigration authorities and held for 21 days before being granted residency.
Then he went on to earn a doctorate degree. Now he says he helps guide immigrant students with similar stories.
“People need to know the immigrant story, and that America is the greatest country in the world to live,” Wright says.