Angel Island: Official Texts
Perhaps the only reason we are able to visit Angel Island today and remember the painful history it holds is because certain institutions of the state gave the site official protections. California's government endowed the island with state park status in 1954. Even then, the state government still directed visitors' experience of the park, opening to visitors just Ayala Cove on the island's western side and remaking the rest of the island into park lands only after the military departed in the early 1960s.1
More than three decades later, the U.S. government designated the immigration station an official National Historic Landmark. The process of legitimating Angel Island provides a telling account of how histories, particularly those incriminating for institutions of the state, are selectively reimagined for the everyday citizen. As we shall see, this institutional remaking of history often struggles to strike a balance between keeping the full, ugly past alive and keeping it marketable -- to ensure Angel Island survives.
Nonetheless, a look into our invariably messy past often takes us on a journey, during which we understand that just because we've lost that history, doesn't mean we can't recover it. We invite you to take that journey now.
1"Angel Island SP." California Department of Parks and Recreation. California State Parks, Web. 16 Mar 2014
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