Angel Island Reopens After Three Years of Renovations

Instead of remaining a citizen of China, I willingly became an ox.
I intended to come to America to earn a living.
The western styled building are lofty; but I have not the luck to live in them.
How was anyone to know that my dwelling place would be a prison

This poem, translated here, talks about the life of one man who passed through Angel Island.  Poems like these were found carved into the walls of barracks housing the immigrants detained there.  The documentary Carved in Silence tells the story of those immigrants.  The book, Island:  Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940, contains translations of the poems found so far.

With Angel Island newly open after three years, this Mercury News article describes the renovations, some history, and the reactions of visitors.  I knew some things about Angel Island, but the article points out some facts that are new to me, such as the fact that Indian immigrants also got stuck there.  Also, I was struck by the comments of some visitors about the literary skill of some of the anonymous poets.

I have never been there but always wanted to go.  These renovations, reopening, and its history put Angel Island on my must visit list for this summer.

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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