Blog | May 2017

Echoes of History: Chinese Poetry at the Angel Island Immigration Station

by Ying Diao

These lines are from just one of the hundreds of poems carved on the barrack walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station in the early twentieth century by Chinese detainees awaiting decisions on their entry status. As the first literary body of work by Chinese North Americans, this collection of poetry not only carries the secret memories of early Chinese immigrants but also vividly portrays a pivotal period in the nation’s immigration history, when various harsh discriminatory laws limited the entry of Chinese and other Asian immigrants.

Link to Smithsonian Folklife Festival

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