In the first half of the 20th century, nearly 250,000 Chinese immigrants attempted to enter the United States.
Because of discrimination against Chinese and laws meant to impede their passage, most were detained and interrogated on Angel Island, America's west coast immigration center.
The experience of these immigrants is documented in hundreds of poems that have been carved into the walls of the Angel Island detention center.
Many of these have been translated, but little is known about the authors.
Kathleen Wong, a second-generation Chinese American, believes that her grandfather and great-grandfather spent time on the island and that her great-grandfather may have committed suicide there.
She knows little about her ancestors' experience on Angel Island and their possible connection with the poems.
The History Detectives investigate the story of her family's passage to the United States to find out if any of the poems were written by her ancestors.
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 Empire State Building Plane Crash Piece Does this piece of metal belong to the plane that crashed into the Empire State Building?
- Also with Gwen Wright Howard Hughes Invention Was this oil drilling device really a Howard Hughes invention?
- Related Investigation Flint Lock Rifle Was this the gun of one of the most infamous bandits operating to undermine the birth of our nation?
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 Marion Carpenter Camera What might this battered camera reveal about a photographer who changed the image of a U.S president?
- Related Investigation Prison Plaque Were convicted felons responsible for bringing peace to Western Europe during World War I?
- Also with Gwen Wright Cesar Chavez Banner What role did this banner play in one of the most famous civil rights campaigns in U.S. history?
This is a place for opinions, comments, questions and discussion; a place where viewers of History Detectives can express their points of view and connect with others who value history. We ask that posters be polite and respectful of all opinions. History Detectives reserves the right to delete comments that don’t conform to this conduct. We will not respond to every post, but will do our best to answer specific questions, or address an error.