Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

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Felipe, Eliseo : Angel Island Profile: Eliseo Felipe by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
Year of Arrival 1933

Eliseo Felipe, a 100 year-old retired serviceman, shares his journey to the United States and his pride in becoming an American.

At the age of seven, Eliseo learned to work on the fields to support his family in the Philippines. He immigrated to the United States in 1933 where he met his brother and uncles who worked on the farms in Salinas, California.

Over the years Eliseo held many jobs across California, working as a farmer, bellman, and eventually a serviceman for the United States Army.

Currently, Eliseo is retired and tends to his garden at his house in Salinas, CA. He recently celebrated his 100th Birthday with his wife, four children, and grandchildren.

This film was Produced by Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.

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Fong, Hong May : A Life's Adventure of a Paper Daughter: Fong Hong May (Helen Fong) by Calvin Fong
Year of Arrival 1925

After the death of Fong Poy’s (aka Fong Wan) second wife, Fannie Ng in 1924, he didn’t trust his own instincts in selecting another wife.  He decided to have a traditionally-arranged marriage through his parents in China, and requested his mother and sisters to select a young woman who would be compatible with his strong (albeit, stubborn) character.  Since his family believed in horoscopes, they most likely consulted the Chinese astrological charts and horoscopes of prospective brides for mutual compatibility. They interviewed several eligible girls from the nearby villages and decided on a young woman from the Lee clan.  Back-and-forth negotiations ensued between the two families, with probing questions from the Lee family concerning Fong Poy’s character, demeanor and ability to care for his new wife.  After an agreement was made, Fong Poy gave a large dowry to the Lee family as per Chinese custom.  The selected maiden was the envy of her friends and other eligible girls because the chosen one would marry a prosperous “wah que” (overseas Chinese) living in America.

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Fong, Jimmy Mee Ning : Angel Island Story by Madeleine Fong
Year of Arrival 1936

Jimmy Ning Fong (aka Fong Mee Ning) of Sacramento, California thinks his Angel Island experience did not have much of an effect on him.  He can recall it well and likes to start with the day he first left his home in China. 

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Fong, Benjamin : My Life by Benjamin Fong
Year of Arrival 1946

Veteran Antioch elementary school teacher, Benjamin Fong, recounts his arrival on Angel Island at age 5, his settlement in Oakland Chinatown, his military service and educational career.

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Fong, Gain : The Story of Gain Fong by Cindy Sue
Year of Arrival 1917

Granddaughter Cindy Sue describes the life of Gain Fong, who emigrated from Canton at age 15 in 1917.  Like many immigrants, Mr. Gong began his stay in the U.S. as a laborer and eventually saved enough money to start a grocery business in Castro Valley, California. His legacy endures through the values of hard work, sacrifice, and education that he instilled in his children and grandchildren.

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Frank, Lotte Loebl : From Vienna to Angel Island by Reese Erlich
Year of Arrival 1940

For many years Lotte Loebl Frank didn’t want to talk about her ordeal. The memories were too painful. She and her family had escaped occupied Europe in 1940 along with a few hundred other Jews who crossed the USSR, China and Japan - ultimately arriving at Angel Island.

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Friesen, Nick : Remembering Nick Friesen (1913-2011) by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1929

Nick Friesen, a former Angel Island detainee who I had the good fortune to interview in 2008, died of a massive stroke on January 4, 2011.  I was told that he had purchased a three-wheel bike at a thrift store in Reedley, California, and was riding it home when he had the stroke.  He was 97 years old.  I thought to myself, that’s so like Nick—active and on the move to the very end.

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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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Gee, Stanley and Amy : The American Dream by Judge Delbert Gee
Year of Arrival 1938

Taken from a speech given by the Honorable Delbert C. Gee during the ceremonial administration of his oath of office as Judge of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda, in January 2003 at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

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Gee, Wong Quock : Life in America by his grandson David Gee
Year of Arrival 1915

After immigrating to the U.S. in 1915 at age 11, Wong Quock Gee settled in Montgomery, Alabama where he owned a laundry and restaurant.  His grandson describes the hardships of Mr. Gee’s life.

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Gin, Shue : Immigration Story of an American Citizen by Lincoln Chin and May Gin Woon
Year of Arrival 1919

In my earlier story that I posted on “Immigrant Voices” about Gin Soo Dung, I wrote that he was born in San Francisco on January 31, 1881, and taken to China by his parents when he was two years old.  He returned to the U.S. in 1903 at the age of twenty-two.  But seven months later, he returned to China on February 27, 1904.  We have no explanation for his short stay in the U.S.  He may not have liked living in America or he may have wanted to return to China to get married.  We do know from his friends and relatives that he married and had a son named Gin Shue before he died in China in 1906 or 1907.  This story is about how Gin Shue immigrated to the U.S. as a paper son and his repeated encounters with the Immigration Service.

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Gin, Soo Dung : Alice Gin’s Father: The Story of Two Brothers Who Shared the Same Name by Lincoln Chin
Year of Arrival 1907

My wife Alice and her siblings have always addressed Gin Shue as Him Goh (Cousin Him), but she could not tell how he was related to her family.  One day when we were visiting Gin Shue at his restaurant, the Shanghai Café on the corner of Stone Avenue and 17th Street in Tucson, Arizona, we asked him exactly how he was related to Alice’s family.  His first comment was that he and Alice were first cousins.  Alice had no idea that she had such a close relative in Tucson.  Then he continued to explain in detail information concerning his father and Alice’s father that had never been revealed to us before.

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Ginn, Roy Gway : Roy Gway Ginn's Adventurous and Fulfilling Life by Karen Ginn
Year of Arrival 1930

Roy Gway Ginn was born on November 12, 1912, Toisan (Taishan) region of Kwong Tung (Guangdong) Province, China. He lived in Loong Kai Li, a small village consisting of twelve homes. Life in China had many hardships. As a boy, Roy had big dreams and ambitions. Everyone heard about a better life in America! San Francisco was known as Gold Mountain after gold was first discovered in the state in 1848, and Chinese traveled to California in search of wealth and fortune.

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