Wednesday, July 22

Paper Son & Angel Island Immigration

Historically, China viewed itself as the focus of the civilized world, going as far as to call their country "Zhong Guo" (the Central Kingdom).  It was not until the Chinese Exclusion Act passed in America that the Chinese faced an enemy that was just as confident of its superiority...
“I had nothing to do there. During the day, we stared at the scenery beyond the barbed wire - the sea and the sky and clouds that were separated from us. Besides listening to the birds outside the fence, we could listen to records and talk to the old-timers in the barracks. Some, due to faulty responses during the interrogation and lengthy appeal procedures, had been there for years.” - Mr. Lowe, Age 16 in 1939
Chinese immigrants came to the United States seeking jobs, but they also found misunderstanding, prejudice, restricted access to employment, and denial of citizenship.  Some American groups called for boycotts of Chinese-made goods, went on strike to demand that Chinese workers be fired, and incited mob violence in which Chinese residents were rounded up and forced out of town.  

Most Chinese men came to America expecting to make a fortune and return home wealthy.  Their wives stayed back in the home country raising children and taking care of extended family, and the men went to visit them back in China.  However, in 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, greatly limiting immigration.  The men who were working in the United States could no longer return to China to visit their families; if they did, it was very likely that they would not be readmitted to the United States. 

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake opened a window of opportunity for these families.  Due to the great fires, many of the city's records were destroyed.  Without paperwork to prove otherwise, many Chinese in the area claimed that they were citizens, which also meant that their children could legally enter the country.  The business of 'paper sons' (and less frequently, 'paper daughters') helped many immigrants to illegally enter the country, falsely claiming to be a son or daughter of someone who (possibly falsely) claimed to be a citizen.

Because many Chinese immigrants who came to the U.S. after the earthquake falsely claimed to be the sons and daughters of Chinese Americans living here, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) subjected all Chinese immigrants to detailed interrogations and sometimes lengthy detainment.  Although the majority of Chinese who attempted to immigrate after the Exclusion Act were turned back, enough were able to get in as “paper sons” or “paper daughters” that the number of Chinese skyrocketed in the 1920 census.

  • Paper Son
    • In 1926, 12-year-old Fu Lee lives with his grandparents in a small village in China. He lives with his grandparents because his parents are dead. It is a difficult life but made easier by the love Lee shares with his grandparents. But now Lee must leave all that he knows. Before his parents died, they spent all of their money buying a "paper son slot" for Lee to go to America. Being a "paper son" means pretending to be the son of a family already in America. If he goes, he will have the chance for a better life. But first he must pass the test at Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco. Only then will he be allowed to live with his new family. If Lee makes even a single mistake, he could be sent back to China. Lee knows his grandparents want a better life for him. He can't let them down.
  • The Dragon's Child
  • Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain
  • deport 
  • detain 
  • enforce 
  • ethnicity 
  • illegal 
  • incarceration 
  • interrogation 
  • nativism 
  • naturalized citizen 
  • segregate 
  • quarantine 
  • stenographer 
  • trachoma  
Make / Do
  • Select a poem from the Angel Island poems to illustrate.  Write the poem and create a drawing around the page.
  • Find a neighbor or family friend who has immigrated, and conduct the following interview.
    • Where and when were you born?
    • When did you move to the United States?
    • Why did you move to the United States? 
    • How did you feel when you came to the United States? 
    • What were your first impressions of the United States? 
    • What were some of the funniest, scariest, and saddest moments of your immigration experience? 
    • Did you face any challenges as an immigrant?  
  • What is the role of the United States government in regard to immigration? What issues are the same as they were in the 1880’s and what issues have changed? Why is this topic important? 
  • If you were immigrating far away and were allowed to take just one small suitcase with you, what would you pack in it? What would you leave behind? You would need things for regular use, but you would probably want a few precious things too, that you could never replace in your new country.

Access more US History units in the American History Novel Studies Bundle!

Includes sixteen unit studies covering American History. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning the Revolutionary War to Vietnam.  Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.

  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.
  • Some units also have cooking projects.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

Product sample:  Paper Son & Angel Island Immigration  & Within These Lines & Japanese Internment

  • Casualties of War & Vietnam War
  • No Promises in the Wind & the Great Depression
  • Out of the Dust & the Dust Bowl
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham & Civil Rights
  • Dusty Sourdough & Alaska
  • The King of Mulberry Street & Ellis Island Immigration
  • Paper Son & Angel Island Immigration
  • The Red Menace & McCarthyism
  • Johnny Tremain & Faces of the American Revolution
  • Sounder & Sharecropping
  • World War II Code Talkers
  • Flashback Four: Hamilton-Burr Duel
  • Within These Lines & Japanese Internment Camps
  • Flashback Four: Titanic Mission
  • Flashback Four: Lincoln Project
  • The Diviners / The Great Gatsby & Roaring Twenties

Looking for more World History?  Check out In-Depth Modern History for High School, one of 400+ courses included with a SchoolhouseTeachers membership.  In this history course, students will learn about some of the major events in history such as World War I and the fight for women’s right to vote. There are also lesser known events such as the Aboriginal Rights Movement and the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement. Included in each week’s lessons are reading, vocabulary, mapping, a quiz, and resources to go deeper into the topic.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.