Posted by: Janette Silverman | May 4, 2012

Immigration Exhibit at National Archives

Jan Meisels Allen IAJGS Vice President Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records 
Access Monitoring Committee brings us the following ingformation:

The (USA) National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will open a 
new exhibit on June 15 on immigration entitled, "Attachments: Faces and 
Stories from America's Gates". It will run through September 4, 2012.  The 
information is not yet posted on their website (they only have information 
through May as of this posting) http://www.archives.gov/calendar/.

"Attachments" tells the stories of 31 men, women, and children who found 
themselves at the gateways to America between 1880 and the end of World War 
II.  Their stories are told through original documents and photographs that 
were "attached" to government forms, and draw from a few of the millions of 
immigration case files at the National Archives.

The exhibit is divided into three sections;  Entering, Leaving and Staying. 
Examples of the 31 people one would "meet" in the exhibit include:

 1.  A young Polish child - whose parents are murdered by the Nazis - hides 
for two years in the Polish forests with an uncle and cousin.  The boy 
survives the war but then spends six years in four refugee camps.  Finally, 
in 1951, he is able to leave Germany and comes with his cousin to the U.S. 
He ends up in Cleveland, Ohio, where he is placed in a foster family, and 
becomes a U.S. citizen..

2.  A woman from Michigan, married to a Chinese man, who learns upon trying 
to leave the country that under U.S. law at the time, when she married her 
husband, she lost her U.S. citizenship and "became Chinese" for immigration 
purposes.

3. A Hawaiian boy taken by his parents to Japan who returns years later 
wanting to work in California.  However, U.S. immigration officers doubt his 
story and detain him at Angel Island, despite his Hawaiian birth 
certificate.

4. A Chinese woman who sails for the U.S. in 1927 with her new husband. The 
couple devises strategies that allow them to successfully negotiate 
prejudices about Chinese women trying to enter the country for immoral 
purposes. Seventy years later, their granddaughter discovers their wedding 
photograph in her grandmother's immigration file.

If you are planning a trip to the Washington D.C. area this summer--this is 
an exhibit that is worth a trip to the National Archives.
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