Polster, University of California, Riverside. The poems at Angel Island are among the most dramatic finds in American literature.
Between andas many asChinese immigrants were detained and processed at Angel Island. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Angel Island served more as a detention and deportation center than an immigration processing center.
Thousands of Chinese were detained and interrogated at the barracks in a prison-like atmosphere for weeks, months or years. Life for the detainees was strange, stressful, demoralizing, and humiliating.
Separated from family members, they were placed in crowded communal living quarters. One hundred persons would sleep in bunk beds, three high in columns, in a room about 1, square feet. Also see our film: Island of Secret Memories There are tens of thousands of poems on these walls They are all cries of suffering and sadness The day I am rid of this prison and become successful I must remember that this chapter once existed I must be frugal in my dailyneeds Needless extravagance usually leads to ruin All my compatriots should remember China Once you have made some small gains, you should return home early.
Written by one from Heungshan The sea-scape resembles lichen twisting and turning for a thousand li. With a gentle breeze I arrived at the city thinking all would be so. At ease, how was one to know he was to live in a wooden building?
Because my house had bare walls, I began rushing all about. The waves are happy, laughing "Ha-ha! I could do nothing but frown and feel angry at heaven.
In the quiet of night, I heard, faintly, the whistling of wind. The forms and shadows saddened me; upon seeing the landscape, I composed a poem.
The floating clouds, the fog, darken the sky. The moon shines faintly as the insects chirp. Grief and bitterness entwined are heaven sent.
The sad person sits alone, leaning by a window. America has power, but not justice. In prison, we were victimized as if we were guilty. Given no opportunity to explain, it was really brutal.
I bow my head in reflection but there is nothing I can do. I am distressed that we Chinese are in this wooden building It is actually racial barriers which cause difficulties on Yingtai Island. Even while they are tyrannical they still claim to be humanitarian.
I should regret my taking the risks of coming in the first place. I thoroughly hate the barbarians because they do not respect justice.
They continually promulgate harsh laws to show off their prowess. They oppress the overseas Chinese and also violate treaties.
They examine for hookworms and practice hundreds of despotic acts. This is a message to those who live here not to worry excessively.
Instead, you must cast your idle worries to the flowing stream.Many Chinese immigrants were forced to prove they had a husband or father who was a U. S. citizen or be deported. From , Chinese immigrants were detained and interrogated at Angel Island immigration station in San Francisco Bay.
U.S. officials hoped to deport as many as possible by asking obscure questions about Chinese villages and. Angel Island Immigration Station was an immigration station located in San Francisco Bay which operated from January 21, to November 5, , where immigrants entering the United States were detained and interrogated.
Angel Island (California) is an island in San Francisco Bay.
Word got back to China about the prolonged questioning, so people would try to mentally prepare before even crossing the Pacific Ocean. A fire destroyed the Angel Island administration building, so the U.S. government abandoned the immigration station. The . The experience of a young Chinese woman, Lee Puey You, was an extreme case of such heartbreak on Angel Island.
Lee Puey You was twenty-three when she was forced to come to the U.S. in as part of an arranged marriage pact with a man old enough to be her father. Discovering Angel Island: The Story Behind the Poems. Students explore the immigrant experience at Angel Island through the analysis of poetry written by immigrants during detention at the San Francisco Bay island.
and would couple nicely with lessons on Chinese Exclusion and nativism in the West. Angel Island Immigration Station Poetry - These telling poems were written by overseas Chinese on the walls of the Angel Island Immigration station, located in the San Francisco bay.