Today we returned to Angel Island, but this time on the 10 a.m. ferry so that we had time to take the Immigration Station Tour. It was very interesting, but we are glad we read up on it before we went! The book that we read outloud as a family was Angel Island (We the People: Industrial America series). We are also reading The Dragon’s Child: A Story of Angel Island and plan on purchasing the poetry book from Angel Island, Island: Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940.
The funnest part of the tour was when my girls found several characters that they can read on the walls. It also turned out that they were the only ones present that could count to ten in Chinese. (There were 3 other Chinese families there who talked about their ancestors in China, but none knew how to speak or read Chinese.) The tour guide asked Star to count to show what a “show girl” demostrated to American’s before Chinese started to immigrate in 1849. Apparently Chinese was nothing like any language American’s had heard before. Until that time there were only 50 Chinese people in the whole of the US!
I highly recommend that anyone interested in the Chinese experience here in America read up on Angel Island. It was a very sad period of time for our country, and the laws were very racist.