Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

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Takeshita, Chie : Chie Takeshita: Success and Tragedy by Lawrence Li
Year of Arrival 1936

“It was really a feeling of wow, this is America! It's so beautiful with flowers everywhere. Then the shock of that room...” -Chie Takeshita

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Sonnemann, Kurt and Berta  : Escape through Siberia by Toby Sonneman
Year of Arrival 1940

Author Toby Sonneman recounts the story of her grandparents’ harrowing escape from Nazi-controlled Mannheim, Germany, their eventual arrival on Angel Island, and settlement in Chicago.

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Chong, Yap Tai : World Tours and Section Six: The Story of Yap Tai Chong, Traveler by Aria Thaker
Year of Arrival 1931

 

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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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Kaltakian, Noyemzar Manoogian Israelian : Escaping the Armenian Genocide and Landing in Angel Island by Phil Tavlian
Year of Arrival 1919

In a 2015 Fresno Bee series marking the centennial of the start of the Armenian genocide, Fresno resident Philip Tavlian described the tragic loss of his grandmother's husband and children, her escape and journey through Russia, and eventual landing in the United States, where she first arrived at Angel Island.

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Chan, Dep and Joy : The Angel Island Stories of Dep and Joy Chan by Rachel Shuen, Austin Li Long and Ivonne Gonzalez
Year of Arrival 1916

Mr. and Mrs. Dep and Joy Chan were both immigrants from China who were detained at Angel Island Immigration Station before being allowed entry to start their lives in the United States. Both Mr. and Mrs. Chan arrived in the United States in search of new lives: Mr. Chan purchased papers as the son of a relative, and Mrs. Chan’s father purchased her papers for an arranged marriage to Mr. Chan. They worked hard and eventually purchased their own ranch in Novato, CA, where they raised their family of four. The stories of Mr. and Mrs. Chan demonstrate their determination and desire to build their lives and establish roots as a family in California.

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Yee, Herbert : Herbert Yee's Story: From Child Angel Island Immigrant to Community Leader by Karun Yee
Year of Arrival 1931

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Wong, Nea Woo : June Wong Chen’s quest to tell the journeys of father Nea Woo Wong and other family members by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1915

June Wong Chen began her quest to learn about her ancestors’ journeys to America in the mid-1980s when her almost 90-year old father gave her for safekeeping a booklet which recorded his sworn statements during his interrogation sessions on Angel Island in 1915, as well as his uncle/paper father’s testimony in Los Angeles. This started her on a seven-year journey to learn about what they went through so she could tell future generations. Although she was born in Stockton, June spent ages 2-17 in Hong Kong and Shanghai, China and has an amazing, multi-generational story to tell.

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Kim, Chansuma "Chom Soon" : Chansuna “Chom Soon” Kim: A Korean Adoptee in 1914 by Dennis Nguyen
Year of Arrival 1914

On August 10, 1914, a Board of Special Inquiry, consisting of inspectors J.P. Lawler, D.J. Griffiths, and J.A. Robinson, held an unusual hearing on the case of an eight-year-old Korean adoptee who had arrived in San Francisco on the S.S. Persia that day. The Korean child’s birth name was Chansuna Kim; however, the passport that was issued by the Japanese government gave her name as Chom Soon Kim. The child was accompanied by her legal guardian, Dr. Amanda Francis Hillman, who had been a medical doctor for the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society in Korea for three years prior to arriving at Angel Island.

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Nakamura, Mantsuchi and Sojuro : Mantsuchi and Sojuro Nakamura: Japanese Immigrant Farmers in California’s Central Valley by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1902

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Ozaki, Otokichi (Muin) : Angel Island was one of Eight Detention Centers for Otokichi Ozaki by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1917

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Soga, Yasutaro : Journalist Yasutaro Soga’s Detention on Angel Island During World War II by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1896

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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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