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.
- 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 with Gwen Wright Quaker Map Did this faded map once guide slaves to freedom on the underground railroad?
- Also in Season 2 Civil War Submarine Is this submarine an example of new technology developed by the Confederates during the Civil War?
- Related Investigation Prison Plaque Were convicted felons responsible for bringing peace to Western Europe during World War I?
- Also with Wes Cowan Little Bighorn Bayonet Could this bayonet have been used at one of the largest massacres of U.S. soldiers by American Indians?
- Also with Gwen Wright N.E.A.R Device Was this device invented to help Americans believe they could survive a Soviet nuclear attack?
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.