Fact of the Day (2/29) – Angel Island

From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station symbolized a gateway for many Chinese immigrants. Conveniently located on the west coast in the San Francisco Bay Area, the immigration facility processed almost a million immigrants from Asia to the United States, but discriminated and detained Chinese immigrants for relatively long periods of time as a continued means to exclude and bar them from entry. With an indefinite detention and future, many Chinese immigrants inscribed on the barrack walls their compelling stories and experiences expressed in poetic form about hope, disappointment, or sorrow. Preserved today, these poems were written similar to the Tang dynasty style of regulated verse and couplets with much versification based on their diverse backgrounds, education, and class. Even without resources readily available about the standard tonal rules and structures, they used poetry as a basic structure to organize their thoughts, a creative means to express their feelings and emotions.