Exploring Chinese American History

The Immigrant Learning Center is alarmed by the wave of hate and violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in the United States that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. As a resource to counter the misinformation and bigotry behind this, we are sharing a chapter from our book, Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts, for free.

Each of Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts’ 11 chapters shares the many “struggles” and “gifts” of a group of immigrants, written by an academic in the field. Acclaimed author and scholar of Chinese American history Erika Lee contributed Chapter Four on the legacy of immigrants from China to the United States, which you can download below. This chapter does not encompass the broader history of AAPI immigration, but it does provide an under-explored window into Chinese American immigrant communities. We hope that by sharing it with a wider audience, we can help counter the misinformation currently harming AAPI communities.

The current wave of bigotry has deep roots in U.S. history, which include one of the first laws to exclude immigrants, the Chinese Exclusion Act, the inhumane treatment of Asian American immigrants at Angel Island, and the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. Asian American history also features extraordinary contributions, accomplishments and heroes, one of whom, Chien-Shiung Wu, you can learn more about in our blog post on famous women immigrants. We encourage you to explore these vital topics beyond the chapter we provide. More resources are listed below.

Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts is available for purchase through Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. We encourage you to explore more AAPI topics in our online Immigration Research Library such as The Roots of Anti-Asian Racism in the U.S.: The Pandemic and ‘Yellow Peril’ by Alexa Alice Joubin and The Economic Status of Asian American and Pacific Islander Women by Robin Bleiweis. More resources are listed below.

We support our Chinese neighbors. We are in this together! [image of a boat]Other resources from The Immigrant Learning Center:

  • The ILC has curated a collection of COVID-19 resources with a section on fighting hate. It includes educational resources, places to report hate crimes and bystander intervention training.
  • Our blog post Cultivate Kindness: Activities for Children and Teens features kid-friendly activities designed to educate and build empathy in young people. Many are focused on countering the anti-Asian sentiment that has arisen during this pandemic.
  • Our Drawing Support campaign offers a tangible way to show your support for immigrants from China and all immigrant essential workers. Download our posters and put them in your windows to signal that “we are in this together.”
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