Journey to the West: Poems and Stories of Chinese Detainees on Ellis Island


Following is an excerpt:
In 1985, during the renovation of the immigration station at Ellis Island in New York City, preservationists uncovered more than 400 square feet of inscriptions in eleven languages on the walls, columns, partitions, and doors left by detained aliens sometime between 1901 and 1954. There were messages of hope and despair. One Italian immigrant wrote, “Damned is the day that I left my homeland.” There were also drawings of boats, birds, flags, and people. Others simply put their hand on the wall and drew its outline as evidence that they had been there.

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