Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

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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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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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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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Yanes, Guillermo : Finding a Home by Hayden Stern
Year of Arrival 1994

Guillermo Yanes was born in El Salvador to poor, peasant parents in the rural countryside. His family worked the land, deeply connected to the soil and plant life of their country. They had clear values and a strong work ethic. Guillermo grew up as someone who worked hard and had distinct morals. His family made sure of this.

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Yee, Tet Ming : Activist, Entrepreneur by Lia Dun
Year of Arrival 1932

After arriving at Angel Island on September 6, 1932, Yee Tet Ming (the true son of a Chinese merchant) was almost deported back to China for fraudulent entry when certain answers that he gave during the immigration interrogation did not match those of his father and brother.  As a result, he had to spend six months locked up on Angel Island while his attorney appealed his case to the higher authorities.  The experience would mark him forever.  After he was admitted into the country, he devoted much of his life to fighting racial discrimination, labor organizing, and helping to build a stronger China.  His work served to better the lives of Chinese Americans both during his time and for future generations.

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Yee, Robert Fon : Video Interview with Robert 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 Robert Fon Yee.

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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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