ELA 3: Angel Island

For a place with "angel" in the name, this island was pretty far from heavenly. Today we'll learn all about the main west coast immigration stop of the 1900's, Angel Island.

3rd GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School3rd Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:22

It's actually a park in the San Francisco Bay. [Arrow points to Angel Island on a map]

00:24

But unlike your regular neighborhood park, this has a pretty rich history.

00:29

Almost as rich as angel food cake.

00:31

From 1910 to 1940 Angel Island was an immigration center. [Dino discussing history of Angel Island]

00:35

Most immigrants from Asia landed on its shores, and were questioned there.

00:39

When they arrived, the immigrants were given a medical exam…[Asian immigrant enters exam room]

00:43

…and they were asked about their lives and their ties to people in America.

00:46

Definitely not you average day in the park.

00:48

And if it is, maybe you should switch parks…

00:51

By the time Angel Island opened, America already had a history of Asian immigration.

00:55

In the 1800s, many Chinese immigrants came to America.

00:58

They took part in the Gold Rush, built railroads, filled in swamps, fished, and worked in agriculture.

01:03

However, despite all their hard work, by 1882, politicians were unfairly blaming Chinese [Politician blaming chinese man]

01:08

laborers for high unemployment rates, and the Exclusion Act of 1882 placed restrictions

01:14

on Chinese immigration.

01:15

So by the time Angel Island was opened, many people were openly racist against the Chinese.

01:20

As you'd imagine, immigrants arriving at Angel Island didn't exactly get a warm, friendly [Racist man with a 'Go away' sign at Angel Island]

01:25

welcome.

01:26

Nary a muffin basket to be seen.

01:29

Many of the new immigrants from Asia ended up being detained and deported. [Asian immigrant arrested]

01:33

And the detention itself was really rough.

01:36

Men and women were put in separate barracks with little privacy. [Asian man in barracks]

01:40

The food was of poor quality, and the people were fenced in to prevent escape.

01:44

Yup.

01:45

Hospitality was not exactly America's strong suit.

01:48

With little to do while confined, some of the Chinese prisoners of Angel Island wrote

01:52

poetry on the walls, about their shame, homesickness, and anger. [Chinese poetry on Angel Island walls]

01:56

Which makes sense. The conditions in Angel Island wouldn't make people want to write

02:00

lovely sonnets about flowers.

02:02

In 1941, the barracks were given to the armed forces, who used them to hold prisoners in World War II…

02:07

…but by 1947, it was closed down. It now sits as a sad reminder of one of the many

02:12

unjust chapters in America's past.

02:14

Maybe one of these days, America will finally put out a muffin basket. [A welcome muffin basket]