Poetic Justice for a Feared Immigrant Stop
On Thursday, this little-spoken-about place, the physical embodiment of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which was intended to prevent Chinese laborers from entering the country, received long-awaited recognition when President Bush signed into law the Angel Island Immigration Station Restoration and Preservation Act.
The legislation, a result of a 35-year effort by the nonprofit Angel Island Immigration Foundation, authorizes up to $15 million to establish a museum and genealogical research center on the island and to help preserve two original structures, including barracks with chicken-wire clerestories and melancholy graffiti - eloquent poems carved on wooden walls and routinely puttied and painted over by the authorities. The immigration station, nestled in a eucalyptus grove on the largest island in the bay, is a national historic landmark, though it is closed to the public.
"Ellis Island was created to let Europeans in," said Robert E. Barde, deputy director of the Institute of Business and Economic Research at the University of California, Berkeley, who is writing a book on immigration. "Angel Island was created to keep the Chinese out." The Exclusion Act, repealed in 1943 when China became America's ally in World War II, was the culmination of decades of anti-Chinese sentiment in the aftermath of an economic depression that resulted in mob violence and lynching.
comments powered by Disqus
- Most Millennials Resist the ‘Millennial’ Label
- Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers – and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting
- China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan
- New documentary explores the legacy of the 5,000 Rosenwald schools set up by a Sears magnate and Booker T. Washington
- Rare silent Native American movie of 1920s attracting a lot of interest
- Historian Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham wins National Humanities Medal
- AHA President Vicki L. Ruiz named National Humanities Medalist
- Historians of Color Are Revolutionizing the Narrative of ‘American Exceptionalism’
- Henry VIII voted worst monarch in history
- The Fuhrer style: Historian says press coverage of Hitler’s lavish life fueled his rise to power