Sunday, February 1, 2009

3/3: The Chinese Diaspora in America with author Elliott Young

photo, Elliott Young
The Friends of the Forest Grove Library are pleased to host this Oregon Chautauqua Program from the Oregon Council for the Humanities. The program will take place at the Forest Grove City Library on March 3rd, at 7 PM.

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese arrived in the Americas in the mid-nineteenth century to work on railroads and sugar plantations. That is a well-known story. Less well known is the story of their incredible journey once they arrived. Some dressed as Mexican peons, Canadian Native Americans, and black Cubans in order to smuggle into boxcar trains or onto ships to sneak across the U.S. border. Thus, the image of the "illegal alien" in the United States begins with Chinese in the late nineteenth century.

In The Chinese Diaspora in America: The First "Illegal Aliens," Elliott Young, Associate Professor of History at Lewis and Clark College, explores the immigration bureaucracy that was created to track, find, and capture "illegal" Chinese immigrants, and the strategies these immigrants, in turn, used to stay one step ahead of government inspectors. As the current immigration debate rages in our country, it is important to put the question of criminality, immigration, and the concept of the "illegal alien" into historical perspective.

This free, public program will take place on Tuesday, March 3, at 7:00 p.m. at the Forest Grove City Library, 2114 Pacific Avenue, Forest Grove.

OCH is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that is dedicated to the belief that knowledge and ideas are fundamental to the health of our communities. More information about OCH's programs and publications, which include Oregon Chautauqua, Humanity in Perspective, and Oregon Humanities magazine, can be found at

This program is presented by the Friends of the Forest Grove Library as part of their First Tuesday Cultural Series.