Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

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Kobayashi, Alice Marill : A Jewish Student Refugee in 1939 by Eva Martinez
Year of Arrival 1939

Edited by Alice Kobayashi/Carol Kobayashi 06/06/12

On May 17, 2012, Eva Martinez interviewed Alice (Marill) Kobayashi over the phone about her family’s journey to the United States when they fled Hitler’s persecution of Jews. Alice current lives in retirement home in Atlanta, GA.

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Kumagai, Hatsumi Imagawa : Hatsumi Imagawa’s Return to America by Jennifer Chen
Year of Arrival 1931

Jennifer Chen tells the story of Hatsumi Imagawa Kumagai in her own words, from a family history prepared by Mary Kumagai-Hyodo-Polk.

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Kumagai, Hatsumi Imagawa : Hatsumi Imagawa’s Return to America by Jennifer Chen
Year of Arrival 1931

Jennifer Chen tells the story of Hatsumi Yazaki Kumagai's journey to the United States and life in California in the voice of Mrs. Kumagai.

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Lee, Moy : “She roared wherever she went;” the story of Moy Lee, entrepreneur and liberated woman by Suzanne Eng
Year of Arrival 1937

I began this journey after hearing these fascinating stories of Moy at her funeral; I wanted to know how someone who dared to come to America at 21 during the Exclusion Act and anti-Chinese sentiments could find success and also become a multimillionaire (a woman, no less). I wanted to see how her struggles turned to ambition could help me and future generations.

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Lee, Mrs. Yoke Suey : Mrs. Lee Yoke Suey's Fifteen Month Detainment on Angel Island by AIISF
Year of Arrival 1923

"Detained at Liberty's Door" is the story of the unjust detention of one individual, Mrs. Lee Yoke Suey, and the battle to secure her release. In the video is a film clip by Freida Lee Mock, from her 1974 documentary, Jung-Sai: Chinese Americans, of a visit by Mrs. Lee's daughter to the barracks where her mother was detained for 15 and a half months. It is a rare glimpse of the Angel Island Immigration barracks from the 1970s, long before they were renovated 2000's. Please watch the 12-minute story below.

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Lee, Bak Huen : Coming to America through The Angel Island Immigration Station by Lia Chang
Year of Arrival 1937

In recognition of my grandmother’s 90th birthday, I am sharing this article I wrote about her experience of being detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station, which appeared online in the September 19, 2000 edition of A. Media, Inc.

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Lee, Show Nam : “We were real, so there was no need to be afraid.” Lum Ngow’s Long Stay on Angel Island by Judy Yung
Year of Arrival 1935

On February 5, 1935, fifteen-year-old Lum Ngow and his mother Ow Soak Yong arrived in San Francisco from China on the President Taft.  They had come to join his father Lum Bew, a merchant who ran Lung Kee, a Chinese poultry and deli in Oakland Chinatown.  Family members of the merchant class were exempt from the Chinese Exclusion Act and they should have been admitted into the country.  Instead, mother and son were detained on Angel Island for eighteen months, fighting a legal battle to prove they were in fact the son and wife of Lum Bew. 

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Lee, Charlie : A Family Profile of the Charley Lee and Mary Sullivan Family by Marilyn Lee McConnell
Year of Arrival 1911

My name is Marilyn Lee McConnell, and I am a member of the Ng family.  I grew up in Oakland, California, not knowing that I belonged to the Ng/Eng family. Why was that?

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Lee, Don Yee Fung : My Journey from China to America by William Wong
Year of Arrival 1939

Adapted from an interview conducted by William Wong, edited by Jordan Yee and Eddie Wong

Don Yee Fung Lee looks back at the hardships and trials of his life with great candor and feeling.  From very harsh beginnings, he forged a life that is rich with accomplishments on the professional and personal level.

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Lee and Emma Yee, Thin : Thin and Emma Yee's "Love at First Sight" Life Together by Grant Din and the Lee Family
Year of Arrival 1930

Visitors to the Immigrant Heritage Wall on Angel Island are often struck by a plaque that reads, “Eat Less, Move More, and Don’t Worry.” These are the words and lifelong personal guide of Thin Lee (aka Lee Suey Horn) who immigrated to the U.S. from Taishan, China through Angel Island in 1930. The plaque was dedicated to him by his loving children who followed their father’s simple but poignant creed to build happy, healthy, and successful lives of their own in the United States.

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Lee Masters, Margaret : Margaret Lee Masters, M.D. (Lee Jee Jung): From Churches to Pediatrics by Larisa Proulx
Year of Arrival 1900

In the early fall of 1940, sixteen-year-old Lee Jee Jung (Margaret) left war-torn Hong Kong with her seventeen-year-old brother Lee See Jung (Philip) to go to America. Margaret’s father, Rev. Shau Yan Lee, had sent for them.  Eleven years ago, he himself had gone to America to be a Baptist minister to the Chinese in Northern California and later, Mississippi and Texas.  Initially, Margaret’s father did not intend on bringing her to America. However, due to the death of her oldest sister and brother in China from typhoid fever around the time of the Japanese invasion in Canton, and her second oldest sister being no longer a minor, she and her brother were selected to join their father in America.

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Leem, Byuen H. : A Failed Attempt to Pass as Filipino: The Case of Byuen H. Leem/”Eduardo Sanchez” by Dennis Nguyen
Year of Arrival 1916

On December 12, 1916, “Eduardo Sanchez” (actually named Byuen H. Leem) arrived in San Francisco on the S.S. Great Northern from Honolulu, Hawaii, claiming he was born in the Philippines.  Because Filipinos were considered “U.S. nationals” and not aliens, they were not subject to the Asian exclusion laws and were usually landed from the ship.  But the boarding officer, suspecting that “Sanchez” was not Filipino but Japanese, decided to send him to Angel Island for further investigation. He was detained at Angel Island for 44 days and when he was found to be Korean, he was returned to Hawaii on January 24, 1917.

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Leong, David : Alone on Angel Island at age eight: David Leong's story by Kelsey Owyang and Olivia Pollak
Year of Arrival 1940

David Leong's story is an amazing one. While he traveled across the Pacific at the age of eight with his distant aunt and cousins, upon arrival in San Francisco he had to go to Angel Island by himself because his relatives were U.S. citizens and not detained. He managed to pass the interrogation process and be released to rejoin his father.

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