Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

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Low, Raymond : A Remembrance of Raymond Low by Arthur Low
Year of Arrival 1938

Arthur Low traces the life of his father from humble beginnings in Toisan. China to life in Sacramento, CA.  Despite difficult times, Raymond Low worked hard at two jobs, bought a house and raised four children with his wife Yvonne.  Today, his grandson, Evan Low is the Mayor of Campbell,CA.

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Gong., Tom L : Life in America by Linda Gong
Year of Arrival 1936

Like many Chinese immigrants, Tom L. Gong arrived at Angel Island in 1936 as a “paper son.”  He came as Kong Leung Quong, a 14 year old boy, but he was actually 16 years old.  After a long life of work, he settled in Watsonville with his wife Edna, raised a family, and became a community leader actively involved in the Fah Yuen Association and the Sam Yick Association.

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Gong, Edna Ow : From Picture Bride to American Housewife – A daughter’s remembrance by Linda Gong
Year of Arrival 1940

After arriving at Angel Island in 1940 from China, Edna Ow married Tom Gong and settled in California’s Central Valley and worked with her husband in the chicken ranching and grocery business.  Linda Gong, the youngest of four children, paints a loving portrait of a generous and hardworking woman, her mother.

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Louie, Stephen : Chinese Interpreter by Jim Huen
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

Interview of Stephen Louie
Chinese Interpreter, 1949 to 1954, US Immigration Office, San Francisco

Angel Island Immigration Station operated from 1910 to late 1940 when a fire closed the Station.  The U.S. Immigration office then moved to a temporary location in San Francisco at 801 Silver Avenue and operated there until 1944 when a new permanent immigration facility was built and opened at 630 Sansome Street.  It was also known as the U.S. Appraisers Building, housing other federal agencies.  This facility is still an active immigration office under its current name United States Citizenship and Immigration Services under the Department of Homeland Security.  Little has been written about these two San Francisco immigration facilities.

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Gee, Wong Quock : Life in America by his grandson David Gee
Year of Arrival 1915

After immigrating to the U.S. in 1915 at age 11, Wong Quock Gee settled in Montgomery, Alabama where he owned a laundry and restaurant.  His grandson describes the hardships of Mr. Gee’s life.

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Yee, Helen : My Immigrant Story by Helen Yee
Year of Arrival 1940

I was born in San Francisco at St. Luke Hospital on June 26, 1923. When I was 4 months old, my parents took me to Detroit, Michigan to enable themselves to open a laundry there. Due to the fast progression of the Ford and the General Motors Corp. business had expanded. Thus, the laundry business was a good thriving business. My parents heard of it through word of mouth. However mom had bad health problems. Medical bills used up the earnings. My dad’s mother, Grandma Yee, who lives in a remote village in China, sent word for my dad to return to China to remarry, after my mother died at age 32. I was the oldest at 12 years old. There were six of us. The youngest was one year old, not yet two. We arrived in China on January 1936. I became ill, then bedridden for two years, during the latter part of my four-year stay in China.

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Low, Dick (Ko Shew) : A Tribute to My Father, Dick Low, on his 90th birthday, 1995 by Kenneth Ko Low
Year of Arrival 1921

Ko Shew immigrated to the U.S. in 1921 under the name Dick Low.  He worked hard throughout his life, starting out as a farm laborer and eventually becoming a department store manager.  Kenneth Ko Low reflects upon the many gifts and life lessons his father bestowed upon him.

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Kobashigawa, Jiro Dick : The Story of Jiro Dick Kobashigawa by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1931

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Mr. Kobashigawa moved to Japan with his family when he was six years old. When he became 16 years old, his father sent him back to the U.S. to work and support the family.  He spent three weeks at the Angel Island Immigration Station in 1931.  His account of life in the Detention Barracks provides a detailed description of the isolation and anxiety immigrants experienced.

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Fong, Gain : The Story of Gain Fong by Cindy Sue
Year of Arrival 1917

Granddaughter Cindy Sue describes the life of Gain Fong, who emigrated from Canton at age 15 in 1917.  Like many immigrants, Mr. Gong began his stay in the U.S. as a laborer and eventually saved enough money to start a grocery business in Castro Valley, California. His legacy endures through the values of hard work, sacrifice, and education that he instilled in his children and grandchildren.

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Yee, Chan Teung : Good Memories of My Dad, Chan Teung Yee by Helen W. Yee
Year of Arrival 1928

Admitted as a student in 1928, Mr. Yee spent most of his life as a laundryman in San Francisco. His daughter Helen shares her fond memories of his cooking prowess and gentle nature.

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Horn, Fong : From China to the Keystone State by Jennie A. Horn
Year of Arrival 1922

Daughter Jennie Horn provides a vivid description of her father’s interrogation and detention on Angel Island. Her article transports the reader back to 1922 when two paper brothers boarded the S.S.Nanking in Hong Kong and set off on a journey that would end in Pennsylvania.

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Huey, Sam Herbert : Stories from our Father, Sam Herbert Huey (aka Sam Shu Huey), an Angel Island Immigrant by the Huey children
Year of Arrival 1923

Known to family and friends as "Herb," Sam Shu Huey lived an interesting and accomplished life.  Arriving on Angel Island when he was 10 years old, Sam endured two months of questioning before being reunited with his father.  Years later he served in the U.S. Army until 1952 when he was discharged with the rank of Major. A career as a civil engineer followed.  In his retirement years, Herb remained actively engaged in the Asian American community.

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Delevett, Kim : Finding My Way Home by Kim and Peter Delevett
Year of Arrival 1975

Phan Kim Phuong, who came to the U.S. as a child in April 1975 when Saigon fell to the Communists, recounts her journey back to Vietnam.  In an emotional turn of events, she revisits her home town and finds long-lost relatives who have kept her memory alive despite years of separation.

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