Angel Island: Immigrant Journeys of Chinese-Americans
Angel Island: Immigrant Journeys of Chinese-Americans
Angel Island history

Former Angel
Island detainees

Beck H. Gee
Helen Wong Hom
Lester Tom Lee
Henry S. H. Gee

Traveling photo exhibition

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About Lydia Lum


Beck H. Gee Beck H. Gee
Stories and Photographs by LYDIA LUM, copyright 1998

At age 9, Beck H. Gee immigrated in 1931 with an older relative to the United States. Gee was detained about a month at Angel Island. His relative was already a U.S. citizen and was not detained. Gee eventually joined his grandparents in New Orleans. He moved to Houston as an adult. Now 76, he is a retired illustrator.

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"I actually had a really good time at Angel Island, maybe because I was too young to understand the hardship."

"I made friends at the playground. The swing was broken but somebody had tried to replace it by tying a knot in a rope so we could slip our feet into the loophole and swing anyway."

"The inspectors' questions took me away from playtime. I was kind of mad at them for that."

Beck H. Gee "One day we were playing tag. I ran into a bunk and hit my head. I felt the blood. I cried. The men must have finally realized I was alone because no one claimed me. An older man came forward and helped me clean up. He kept a close eye on me the rest of the time. We had meals together and I slept in a bunk close to him."

"I bought apricots at the little store on the island every afternoon. For 10 cents, I got a lunch-sized paper bag of them. They were so juicy! So golden! I had never eaten anything like it. I haven't found such juicy apricots in the U.S. since then, either."

--- Beck H. Gee