“Gateway to Gold Mountain” tells little-known stories of Chinese immigration to America Gateway to Gold Mountain: The Angel Island Immigration Experience, a traveling exhibition that tells the story of Chinese immigrants’ experience at Angel Island, will make a stop in Locke from April 25, 2015, to July 31, 2015. This exhibit has been on display throughout the United States, including at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, on Ellis Island, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, and many other venues. It will be on display as part of the Locke Centennial celebration that is taking place throughout 2015. Many Angel Island immigrants ended up settling in Locke and other Delta towns.
Angel Island, an immigration station in San Francisco Bay, was the entry point into the United States for more than 500,000 immigrants from 80 countries between 1910 and 1940. 175,000 of these immigrants were from China. Due to the Chinese Exclusion Acts and other restrictive legislation, many arrived to find America far different than the land of opportunity that many Chinese called “Gold Mountain.” Angel Island is a critical part of the story of the development of the American West that is rarely remembered in history books today.
Through historic photos, text, and poetry, the exhibit discusses the attitudes, hopes and fears of the Chinese immigrants who faced incredible discrimination upon entry in America. Visitors who attend will walk through a series of vignettes that represent a particular experience at the immigration station. Images of barbed wire fences, guard towers and locked doors set the scene. Banners display the poems that were carved on the Angel Island barracks walls by immigrants. Long dismissed as mere graffiti, these poems are a vital historic record of the aspirations of the immigrants, and of their anger and sadness at the injustice of their initial reception in America. This poetry is among the first Asian American literature, powerful statements of unjust circumstances.
The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Jan Ying Building on 13947 Main Street (map), which is open Thursdays through Sundays, from 11:00 am – 4:30 pm. Other exhibits are also on display in Locke featuring recollections of life in this Chinese town in the last century.
For more information, contact Eileen Leung, Locke Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org