Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Anthony, Eric : From Malaysia to the United States by Thea A
Year of Arrival 1981

When many people think of immigration experiences to the United States, the most prominent aspects that come to mind are stories filled with challenges and heartbreak. Portes and Rumbaut write in their book Immigrant America that an immigrant's move "is commonly portrayed as a one-way escape from hunger, want, and persecution” (Portes & Rumbaut 2006:13). When I began my discussion with Eric Anthony, who immigrated to the United States from Malaysia, he warned me that his story was not one of these, that in fact, his experience was precisely the opposite. “I’m one of those successful immigrant stories. I’ve had very good luck. And hard work, a combination. A lot of kind people have helped me in so many ways, with intelligent thoughts and kind words, and have always guided me. I’ve always felt that I was the lucky one.” What I found through interviewing him, however, is that his success has been a direct result of his amazingly positive mindset, which he has been able to maintain even when faced with challenges many people are never confronted with throughout their entire lives.

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Scheuer, Erna and Julius : Jewish refugees from Germany by Judy Kawamoto
Year of Arrival 1940

Erna and Julius Scheuer, a married couple, arrived at Angel Island Immigration Station on August 28, 1940. They had been passengers on the ship the Rakuyo Maru leaving from Yokohama, Japan. They were interviewed by the Immigration Board on September 3, 1940. The interview was conducted through a German interpreter.

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Young, Wing : Video Interview with Wing Young by AIISF
Year of Arrival 1928

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 Wing Young.

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Yee, Robertson Fon : Video Interview with Robertson Fon Yee by AIISF
Year of Arrival 1921

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 Robertson Fon Yee.

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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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Hong, Robert : A True Chinese American Story by AIISF
Year of Arrival 1936

Filmmaker Jeffrey Chin contributes this introductory segment of a three-part series on Robert Hong, a former detainee, who was 11 years old in 1936 when he first landed on Angel Island. Stay tuned for more segments in the weeks ahead.

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Leong, C. Tony and May : The Journeys of C. Tony Leong and May Chung Leong to America via Angel Island  by Tony C. Leong, Jr., Ph.D.
Year of Arrival 1914

Tony C. Leong, Jr. contributes a fascinating and detailed account of secrets uncovered in the tangled tale of paper sons so common among Chinese Americans.

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Futagawa, Masako and Misako : A Story of Two Japanese-American Sisters, Masako and Misako by Yulia B. Bartow
Year of Arrival Born in U.S.

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Marbach, Flora and Lizzy : Flora Sara Marbach, 50, and Lizzy Marbach, 12:Fleeing Hitler’s Germany for a new life in America by Erika Alvarez
Year of Arrival 1940

By late spring 1940, Hitler’s armies had roared through and conquered the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Paris was next to topple, in June 1940, when Flora Marbach was awaiting a visa to flee Vienna, Germany. A Jew, and a widow since 1937, Flora must have found the early days of the Third Reich terrible, especially after the government abruptly confiscated her husband’s textile factory and left her without any compensation. She managed to survive on some money of her own and her husband’s insurance, but she knew that as Jews, she and her twelve-year-old daughter, Lizzy, would have no future in a German-occupied Europe. They had to get out, but how??

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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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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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Quock, Jim (Wah Bo) : My Father Was a Paper Son by Steve Kwok
Year of Arrival 1929

From 1882 until December 1943, immigration restrictions, namely the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, made it nearly impossible for Chinese to immigrate to the United States.  It was the only law in American history to deny citizenship or entry into the United States based upon a specific nationality.  Only merchants, diplomats and sons of citizens were allowed into the U.S.  During the 1920’s 30’s and 40’s many immigrants from China arrived in the United States with purchased citizenships.  Those who utilized this method to enter the U.S. were known as “paper sons.”

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Ming, Jenny Gar-Yee Jang : Fate and the importance of remembering where you came from: The Jenny Ming story by Eva Martinez
Year of Arrival 1964

based on an interview of Jenny Ming by Eddie Wong

In 1955, after waiting for their third child to be born, the Jang family left their home in communist-ruled Canton, China, for the relative safety of Macau.  Macau had been under Portuguese rule since 1887 and the newly established Beijing government was temporarily ignoring the region.

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