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 with Wes Cowan Red Cloud's Peace Pipe Was this pipe given to an Indian agent by the famous Lakota warrior Chief Red Cloud?
- Also in Season 1 Dutch Colonial Home What role did these menacing forts play in the settling of this part of the West?
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 Poison Pin Are these prototypes for poison suicide pins carried by spy plane pilots during the Cold War?
- Also in Season 2 Dueling Pistols Were these pistols used in the last great duel on U.S. soil?
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 War Dog letter The military put great effort into a new War Dogs program during WWII. What went wrong on Cat Island?
- Also in Depression and WWII: 1929-1945 Theremin How did this strange instrument help spark a rock n’ roll revolution?
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.