Oral History Projects

1. History through Memories and Stories – University of Washington East Asia Library Oral History Project for Seattle Chinese Immigrants (忆往事 讲故事 —探寻大西雅图地区华人移民的往事经历)

“This oral history project documents the life and experiences of Seattle’s Chinese immigrant community from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and other areas of the world. Chinese immigrants came from very diverse social and economic backgrounds. Their decisions to come to the U.S. and th1eir American experiences were significantly shaped by the political, economic, and social developments of their times. This project aims to create an archive for use by future scholars that provides a balanced representation of the various groups of Chinese immigrants from different geographical areas and historical periods.”

2. Year of China Oral History Project – Brown University

“Connecting with the past, and building the Archives, the Year of China program provided a unique opportunity for the University to share and preserve stories of Chinese students over the last several decades. For the Year of China Oral History Project, faculty, staff, and alumni conducted selected interviews with graduates of Brown University as well as faculty and staff.  The interviews illuminate a larger history of China by examining the experience of exchange students and faculty at different moments.  Interviews with faculty members allow for a better understanding of changing academic interest in China over the years.

Interviews generally lasted about an hour and cover topics such as early life, experiences at Brown as a student and/or faculty member, and life after Brown. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and will be stored in the University Archives upon completion of the Year of China initiative in June 2012. ”

The full transcript and audio is available in University Archives.

3. Minnesota Immigrant Oral Histories

“The first Chinese immigrants arrived in Minnesota in the mid-1870s, almost all of them single working men escaping anti-Asian violence in the western United States.  Most settled in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Duluth, with the rest sparsely scattered in outlying towns, including on the Iron Range. Nationally, the Chinese population declined in the U.S. following the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 which stopped almost all immigration to the U.S. from China. However, the number of Chinese in Minnesota increased at this time due to migration from western states. By 1910 there were almost 400 Chinese men in Minnesota, though only a handful of Chinese families.

In 1943 Congress repealed the Chinese exclusion laws, although new laws still held immigration from China down to a thin trickle. The law also made it possible—for the first time in U.S. history—for Chinese immigrants to become American citizens. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which removed all immigration quotas based on national origin, greatly increased the number of immigrants arriving from Asia, especially Chinese from Taiwan and Hong Kong. Mainland Chinese began to arrive in greater numbers in the 1980s.

Many Chinese who have immigrated to Minnesota since World War II have come to attend or work for the University of Minnesota. In 2009 20,600 Chinese (and 400 Taiwanese) were living in Minnesota, out of a total U.S. Chinese population of nearly 3 million.”

See more:

Minnesota Chinese Oral History Project
Asians in Minnesota Oral History Project
Asians in Greater Minnesota Oral History Project

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