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 The Exclusion Act, repealed in 1943 when China became America's ally in World War II, was the culmination of decades of anti-Chinese sentiment in the aftermath of an economic depression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
- South Dakota drops history as a high school requirement
- The Forgotten History Of 'Violent Displacement' That Helped Create The National Parks
- Gospel of Jesus’ Wife May Be Authentic, New Tests Suggest
- Architect Sought for Obama’s Presidential Library Complex
- 2016 election's leading candidates have strong Jewish family ties
- Ron Radosh plans to defend Warren Harding in a new book
- Historians tackle America’s mass incarceration problem
- Report: Russian studies in crisis
- Ken Burns: Donald Trump’s birtherism — a “politer way of saying the ‘N-word'” — proves America isn’t remotely “post-racial”
- Medievalist calls on historians to welcome pop culture