Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Schulze, Tye Leung : Interpreter, Voter, and Pinball Aficionado by Lia Dun
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

At age 12, Tye Leung Schulze ran away from home to escape an arranged marriage and ended up in a mission home helping to save girls from brothels.  She later became the first Chinese American woman to pass the civil service examination and receive a federal service position, as an interpreter on Angel Island, and at 24 or 25, Tye became the first Chinese American woman to cast a ballot in a presidential election.  A San Francisco Daily News article lauded her as “the first Chinese woman in the history of the world to exercise the electoral franchise.”  Her achievements contributed immensely in shaping the experience of Chinese Americans in San Francisco.

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Schwarz, Robert : The story of Robert Schwarz, a bank clerk from Vienna by Yulia B. Bartow
Year of Arrival 1940

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Shah, Mahesh : Mahesh Shah: Journey to California by Roy Chan
Year of Arrival 1965

  Mahesh Shah was born in Mumbai, India in 1943. He grew up in Mumbai and studied science at Wilson College. He was then admitted to Banaras Hindu University where he studied Mechanical Engineering for four years. After graduation, many of his friends wanted to study further in the United States, and so Mahesh also looked into Masters programs in U.S. universities. He eventually applied and was accepted to a number of programs including ones in Chicago, Texas, and Berkeley. Without knowing much about these U.S. cities, he decided on the University of California, Berkeley because he heard it was too cold in Chicago and that cowboys might shoot him in Texas.
 

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Singh, Kehar : Becoming American: The Journey of Early Sikh Pioneer Kehar Singh by AIISF
Year of Arrival 1913

Valarie Kaur is an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights advocate, and interfaith leader who centers her work around the power of storytelling. She is the founder of Groundswell at Auburn Seminary, a non-profit initiative with 100,000+ members that equips people of faith to mobilize for social change. For the last decade, she has led national campaigns responding to hate crimes, racial profiling, immigration detention, and solitary confinement. She and her husband and filmmaking partner Sharat Raju made an eleven-minute film about her grandfather Kehar Singh, and recently learned more from AIISF and the National Archives about Mr. Singh's detention on Angel Island in 1913. Valarie will be starting work on a book this year that includes her grandfather's story.

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Singh, Hazara : Accountant Turned Farmer by Harjit K. and Hardeep K. Gosal
Year of Arrival 1913

Editor’s Note:  Twenty-one year old Hazara Singh “Janda” arrived at the Angel Island Immigration Station in 1913. He told immigration inspectors that he had worked as an accountant in India and was now coming to the United States to study mechanical engineering at a university in Berkeley. He brought $90 in gold and assured inspectors that his father would be able to support him in his studies. The inspectors were impressed by Singh’s appearance, and he was admitted into the country as a student after nine days in detention on Angel Island.  Some of that time was spent at the hospital “under observation” for trachoma.  Nearly ninety years after Hazara Singh arrived on Angel Island, his great-grandnieces, sisters Harjit K. and Hardeep K. Gosal, researched and wrote the following family history.  They found that while Singh was ultimately successful in getting admitted into the country, his time on Angel Island, and specifically the harsh treatment that immigrants received at the hospital, left a strong impression on him.

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Singh Sarabha, Kartar : Student and Revolutionist by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1912

Kartar Singh, a Punjabi Sikh, was born in Sarabha village, Ludhiana district, in 1896. His father died when he was six and his mother when he was thirteen.  He was raised by his grandfather, a farmer.  Kartar attended the village school for five years and graduated from a missionary high school in 1911.  He was attending Revenshaw College in Orissa when he got caught up in the nationalist movement to free India from British rule.  He decided to go to America to aid the cause.  He was then seventeen years old.

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Soga, Yasutaro : Journalist Yasutaro Soga’s Detention on Angel Island During World War II by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1896

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Sonnemann, Kurt and Berta  : Escape through Siberia by Toby Sonneman
Year of Arrival 1940

Author Toby Sonneman recounts the story of her grandparents’ harrowing escape from Nazi-controlled Mannheim, Germany, their eventual arrival on Angel Island, and settlement in Chicago.

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Sue Tin, Susie : Unbound from Tradition - Susie Sue Tin's Adventure from Australia to California via China by Cathy Huang and Sue Pon
Year of Arrival 1923

From the Orient to Oceania

Oh, to be a young woman in the 1920’s, unbound from tradition. This is the story of Susie Sue Tin, unbound, who journeyed from Australia to California to marry, in her own words, “for the adventure.”

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Takeshita, Chie : Chie Takeshita: Success and Tragedy by Lawrence Li
Year of Arrival 1936

“It was really a feeling of wow, this is America! It's so beautiful with flowers everywhere. Then the shock of that room...” -Chie Takeshita

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Tom, William : From a young boy from Hoi Ping, Guangdong, China to a successful optometrist in Los Angeles, CA by Steve Kwok
Year of Arrival 1937

The following was written by Steve Kwok based on an interview by Roy Chan with William Tom in Monterey Park California on March 15, 2012.

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Tom, Melanie : My Chinese New Year  by Melanie Tom
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

Growing up, I felt like an outsider. When holidays like Chinese New Year came around, I would panic. My Taiwanese friends would talk excitedly about how they would spend their New Year money and compare their plans for the holiday. As for me, I had nothing to say. Instead I would go home, wishing that my parents were hiding their special knowledge of how to be Chinese and that this was the year they were finally going to teach me. That never happened.

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Tran, Thanh : Thanh Tran by Ngoc Tu
Year of Arrival 1981

On the 30th anniversary of my first experience with freedom, the bittersweet memory of leaving Vietnam’s prison camp, it seems, took place just yesterday. The date is November 25th, 2010. My family surrounds me and I give thanks for the beautiful display of successful sons and daughters, healthy grandchildren, and an array of oriental as well as traditional Thanksgiving food. All this at the cost of four gold nuggets, I say to myself. I sigh, am relieved, and remember all the individuals who could not afford this opportunity…

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