Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

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Wong, Shee : Teacher, Mother, Wife by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1922

On November 16, 1922, Wong Shee, a 33-year-old schoolteacher, mother, and wife, arrived in Hong Kong with her 14-year-old son. Leaving their village in China was the first leg of their journey to be with her husband and his father in America. After about ten days in Hong Kong, the mother and son boarded a ship bound for San Francisco.  Her husband, a businessman who operated a meat market in Chinatown, had an attorney prepare their paperwork and awaited their arrival in America. Ahead of them was a journey that required hopeful determination. This is their immigration story.

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Wong, Myron (Yao Nam) : Through a Child’s Eyes: Myron Wong (Wong Yao Nam) and His Immigration Experience by Erika Alvarez
Year of Arrival 1940

Though many detained in the purgatory of Angel Island remember it with no great fondness, for Myron Wong, it was simply part of a boy’s great adventure. It brought the 10-year-old Wong Yao Nam from the mountainous Chinese province of Guandong across the sea to America to live with a father he had never met. It is an immigrant story that begins with ancestors; is triggered, as so many are, by war; is sprinkled with hardships and hard work; and ultimately ends well, with an old man looking back on a full and happy life.

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Wong, Helen Hong : Reminiscences of a Gold Mountain Woman by Helen Hong Wong and Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1928

Judy Yung met and interviewed Helen Hong Wong, a.k.a. Yuen Lan Heung, in 1982 while researching the history of Chinese women in America.  A petite and spry woman of seventy-four years, Helen immigrated to the United States in 1928.  During the interview she was quite candid about her detention experience at Angel Island, her hardworking life in the Midwest, where she was often the only Chinese woman in town, and her struggles raising a family of four children during the Great Depression.  Although she never realized her Gold Mountain dream of a life of wealth and leisure, she nevertheless found fulfillment in her work, family, and community.  Helen made her home in Chicago, where she passed away in 2001 at the age of ninety-three.

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Wong, Moon Tung : Eat More Potatoes and Go Back to China: The Life of Moon Tung Wong by Edward Wong
Year of Arrival 1929

As a child, I was often confused about the three different names associated with my father. First, there was Fook Gooy Wong, the name on his citizenship papers. Then there was Frank Wong or Frankie as he was known to the customers at the laundry he and my mother, Siu Fong Yu Wong, ran for 40 years in Hollywood, CA. And finally, there was Wong Moon Tung, a name only used by his friends and cronies from Bak Hang Toon, his birth village.

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Wong, Tyrus : A Profile of Tyrus Wong by Rosalind Chang
Year of Arrival 1920

Immigrant Voices is a collection of stories of Angel Island and Pacific immigrant experiences.  We are proud to present a profile of Tyrus Wong, a renowned artist and kitemaker, as he prepares to celebrate his 100th birthday.

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Wong, Poy (James) : Life in America (Nov 11, 1901 – Jan 4, 1990) by Linda Lum
Year of Arrival 1916

Wong Poy began his life in America with three months of interrogations, but he was finally landed in March 1916.  After working and studying in San Francisco, he moved to Augusta, GA where he spent many years in the grocery business.  He finally settled in Oakland, CA.

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Wong-Woo, Harmon : Video Interview with Harmon Wong-Woo by AIISF
Year of Arrival 1938

In the summer of 1997 and 1998, several former detainees returned to Angel Island where they were interviewed in the detention barracks.  Here's an interview with Harmon Wong-Woo.

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Woo, Moon Sern : Shek Shan by Steve Woo Low
Year of Arrival 1921

Eddie Low, aka Woo Moon Sern, 胡滿常 (1906–1974) was the youngest of 8 children. He immigrated from 泥涌村 南海 九江, disembarked at the Angel Island Immigration Station from the Taiyo Maru on June 25, 1921. During this period the Chinese Exclusion Act restricted Chinese from immigrating to the United States. In order to circumvent the Act, he entered the United States as a paper son, Low Bong. After 143 days of confinement at the Angel Island Immigration Station, on November 14, 1921, he finally arrived in San Francisco.

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Wu, Rev. Daniel Gee Ching : The Reverend Daniel Gee Ching Wu and Angel Island by Gregory Jue
Year of Arrival 1907

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X, Nico : Mendoza, Argentina to Reno, Nevada: The American Dream by Hallie Oberg
Year of Arrival 2003

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Xie, Chuang : Imprisonment at Angel Island by Xie Chuang, Introduction by Judy Yung and translation by Charles Egan
Year of Arrival 1923

Introduction by Judy Yung

Xie Chuang 謝創 (aka Xavier Dea) was born in the village of Yijing 以敬, Tangkou 塘口, Kaiping County 開平縣, Guangdong Province 廣東, in 1905, the oldest of five children. His father immigrated to the United States when Xie was six years old. He received an elementary school education and began to participate in revolutionary activities at a young age. Soon after he was married in 1923, he was summoned by his father to join him in America. Leaving behind his wife and the revolutionary cause, Xie said he crossed the Pacific Ocean in tears, only to land at Angel Island. In an interview with a newspaper reporter in 1981, he recalled his stay on Angel Island. “I was detained on Angel Island for over forty days, during which I thought of many things. China was oppressed and had been carved up by foreign aggressors. We Chinese immigrants were just as oppressed. I thought if China were to become strong one day, our status would change. Life at Angel Island reaffirmed my patriotism.”[1]

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Yamada, Asataro : Rev. Asataro Yamada's Detention on Angel Island Due to His Religious Practices by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1898

Reverend Asataro Yamada had an interesting life in the American West after emigrating from Japan, and became a priest in the Konko Church in 1933. This led to his questioning by the FBI in 1942 and his eventual internment at Angel Island and then Lordsburg, New Mexico. For more information on the Japanese detainees on Angel Island during World War II, visit this page.

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Yanagioka, Kane : A Legacy of Love by Judy Kawamoto, edited by Kelsey Owyang
Year of Arrival 1913

In 2010, nearly 100 years after Japanese immigrants Gonpei and Kane Yanagioka reunited in California, AIISF interviewed the couple’s daughter, Shizue. She recounts her immigrant parents’ challenging – but ultimately joyful – life in the United States.

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