When: Sun., April 15, 1:30-3 p.m. 2018
The fabric of American history has always been pockmarked with the stains of systematic discrimination. Many of these ugly histories we’ve chosen to ignore. In his new book, Wild Geese Sorrow: The Chinese Wall Inscriptions at Angel Island, Oakland writer and poet Jeffrey Thomas Leong provides a poignant, often heartbreaking reminder of one of these oft-forgotten periods. Between 1910 and 1940, San Francisco’s Angel Island existed as an immigration station processing incoming foreign travelers. But it primarily served as a brutal detention center for Chinese immigrants, fueled by anti-Chinese sentiment and the policies of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Countless Chinese immigrants were harshly interrogated, subjected to debasing medical exams, and incarcerated in barracks. Amid their often lengthy stays, the Chinese immigrants would inscribe poems into the walls, expressing their sorrow and hopelessness. Leong, whose own parents were detained at Angel Island, translates many of these poetic documents in his new vital work.