Preserving Immigrant Detention: Angel Island as Case Study
Speaker: Monica Pelayo
Co-sponsored by the Chinese Historical Society of New England
Between 1910 and 1940, Angel Island served as an immigration station in the San Francisco bay area. Unlike its East Coast counterpart, Angel Island was specifically constructed to detain and interrogate Asian immigrants attempting to enter the country. After the federal government stopped using the site, local Asian American activists lobbied to have it preserved as a symbol of immigrant history. This lecture will survey the strategies that these public historians used to retell this history. At the center of their efforts lay the question—how can public historians interpret the site for audiences who only know about Ellis Island?
Join Monica Pelayo and Susan Chinsen of the Chinese Historical Society of New England immediately following the lecture for a reception and community conversation focused on historical sites like Old North and how they tell their own immigrant stories. What are our responsibilities to our community?
Registration is required for the second part of the evening.
Monica Pelayo is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she also serves as the Director of the Public History Track in the History Master's program. She specializes and teaches courses in twentieth-century social and cultural history, immigration, race and ethnicity, and public history. She is currently working on a book-length study, “Narrating A Nation of Immigrants: Race, Memory and Cultural Policy in Cold War America." As a public historian, she has offered her services to the Bracero Oral History Project, the Studio for Southern California History, the Breed Street Shul, and most recently to an immigrant advocacy organization, Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement (CIVIC). Before she moved to Boston, she received her PhD and MA in History at the University of Southern California and her AB in American Studies at Brown University.
Founded in 1992, the Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE) is the first educational organization dedicated solely to documenting, preserving, and promoting the history and legacy of Chinese immigration and settlement in New England. CHSNE is a membership based 501(c)3 non-profit.