Angel Island

The Ellis Island of the West

Photographer

Lydia Lum

Concept

Angel Island is called the Ellis Island of the West, but it was hardly an immigrant gateway. Between 1910 and 1940, some 175,000 Chinese were detained and interrogated under the old "exclusion law" to keep them from settling here and to protect jobs that Americans believed were their birthright. Lydia Lum's Angel Island project seeks to preserve and share the story of the immigrant ordeal through images and oral histories in hopes that through education, this kind of discrimination isn't repeated against other immigrants. Lydia has traveled six states interviewing and photographing former detainees of Angel Island. Today, only a few hundred survive, so time is fast working against Lydia. Photography from her documentary work has been assembled into a traveling show that has exhibited at universities, galleries and other art spaces across the country. She is in the midst of writing a book about Angel Island.

http://www.angel-island.com/

Biography

Lydia Lum is a freelance journalist who makes her living as a writer for magazines and newspapers. Along the way, she became a part-time photographer. Over the years, she has won journalism awards and secured grants supporting her work. Currently, she is a Contributing Editor for Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. A fourth-generation Chinese-American, Lydia also is a public speaker who divides her time between Texas and California. Her great-uncle, now deceased, was among an estimated 175,000 immigrants detained at Angel Island before World War II.

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