Kai-Hem-LeeAlthough this is only one part of our family history, it is important to me that I share this experience. My father, Kai Hem Lee, born in a village in Toishan, China came to the U.S. on November 16, 1940 on board the S.S. Ft. Amherst. His father a naturalized U.S. citizen had been here in the U.S. for many years. He opened a laundry business and finally sent for my father. At the time, my father was only 10 and traveling by himself. Because of a paper work error, he was held at Ellis Island for over 4 months before being release on 03/30/41. I do not know why he was held as long as he was but I was able to retrieved the ship’s manifest and the ‘Record of Aliens held for Special Inquiry’ which I have posted here (my father is the last entry). The cause of detention listed is the ‘Chinese Exclusion Law’. His recollection of his experience there was not a good one. He basically had to care for himself with the help of some friendly teachers, guards and other immigrants who befriended him. He was finally release and reunited with his father at the 32 Mott Street General Store. Although this was a horrible way to start a new life in the U.S., my father was able to put that behind him. He went on to complete high school at Seward H.S., went back to Hong Kong to married his sweetheart at 17, and at the age of 22 was drafted by U.S. Army where he served in the Korean conflict and was awarded the Bronze Medal.After being discharged, he and my mom started their own laundry business and with that the next generation of Chinese Americans. My parents continued to do well and raised 4 children. They are now in their retirement years and now have 6 grandchildren along with 4 great Grandchildren.>> Back to Many Faces