|References for Teachers and Students
In the past few years, there have a number of books and documentaries produced
on the experience of Chinese in America. The following is only a small sample
of materials available. Books and website cited below will provide information
on other material that is available. For example, a longer list of book on
the subject can be found on The
Chinese in California section
of the American Memory/Library of Congress website.
Chen, Jack. The Chinese of America;
From the Beginnings to the Present. Harper & Row,
Dirlik, Arif. Chinese on the American Frontier. Lanham, MD: Rowman
and Littlefield Publishers, 2001. (Each of the chapters focuses on one of 11
western states and gives a fairly detailed history of the Chinese in that state.
Kwong, Peter and Dusanka Miscevic, Chinese Americans: The Immigrant
Experience. Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, 2000.
Takaki, Ronald. Strangers from a Different Shore: History of Asian
Americans. New York: Penguin Books, 1989.
A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1993. (Chapter 8: “Searching for Gold Mountain:
Strangers from a Pacific Shore”)
Tsai, Shih-Shan Henry. The Chinese Experience in America, Indiana University
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Some of these titles are out of print but are good resources if you can
find them. Your school library may have copies and some are available
copies from booksellers such as Amazon. And The Museum of Chinese in
has a suggested
reading for children through young adult.
Chu, Samuel, consultant. Chinese in the Building of the U.S. West.
NJ: Globe Books, 1993.
Focuses on the experience of the Chinese in the 19th century.
For middle and high school. A Teacher’s Resource Manual is
Daley, William. The Chinese Americans. Part of The Immigrant
edited by Sandra
Stotsky. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1996.
A good book of basic information for middle school students. This
book puts the experience of Chinese immigrants into the context of
experience that is such an important part of American history, explaining
ways in which the Chinese experience was both different from and
similar to the
of other groups. Many photographs from the 19th and early 20th century.
Hoobler, Dorothy, and Thomas Hoobler. The Chinese American Family
Album. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
A fascinating book for adolescents and young adults, combining first
hand accounts, photographs, and excerpts and quotes from people and
newspapers of the day
to give a multifaceted portrayal of Chinese Americans from the 1850s
1980s. The book makes connections between the past and present and
brings the history to life by making the photographs and stories
the names of the people in the photos.
Knoll, Tricia. Becoming Americans: Asian Sojourners, Immigrants,
and Refugees in the Western United States. Portland, Oregon:
Coast to Coast
An informative, interesting book for middle and high school students
and adults. The book is divided into short chapters highlighting
groups of Asian immigrants from the 1800s through the 1980s. The
emphasis is on the circumstances under which different waves of Asian
the United States and on the unique difficulties and challenges each
group has faced in adjusting to American life.
Meltzer, Milton. The
Chinese Americans. New York: Crowell, 1980.
Written for middle and high school students, this book traces the
history of the Chinese in the United States, describing their contributions
to the development
of this country and their struggle for economic and social equality.
Ng, Franklin. Chinese American Struggle for Equality. Vero Beach,
Florida: Rourke Corporation, Inc., 1992.
A basic book for middle school students who wish to learn about discrimination
as it has been experienced by Asian immigrants and Asian Americans
since the 1850s. The beginning chapter defines and discusses the
and the book focuses on how Asians have been affected by discrimination
taken action to gain their civil rights.
Steiner, Stan. Fusang, the Chinese Who Built America. New York: Harper
and Row, 1979.
A good non-fiction book for students to learn more about the contributions
of the earliest Chinese explorers and immigrants to North America.
Steffof, Rebecca and Ronald Takaki. Journey to Gold Mountain:
the Chinese in Nineteenth Century America. New York: Chelsea
House Publishers, 1994.
Adapted from Strangers From a Different Shore
into a shorter version
for middle school and high school readers.
Spacious Dreams: The
First Wave of Asian Immigration. New York: Chelsea House Publishers,
Takaki gives an excellent, thoroughly researched history of the Chinese
in the United States.
Wilson, John. Chinese Americans. Vero Beach, Fl: Rourke Corporation,
A slim volume for middle school readers that touches on aspects
of the lives of Chinese Americans from their coming through the 1990s.
Yep, Laurence. This author has written a number of award-winning
books on Chinese and Chinese Americans for young readers.
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Primary Source Materials – Print
Choy, Philip P., Lorraine Dong, and Marlon K. Hom. Coming Man: 19th
Century American Perceptions of the Chinese. Seattle: University of
Presents the perceptions and treatment of Chinese immigrants in
19th century America through a selection of illustrations and
in American magazines and newspapers during the period. An excellent
accompanying text offers
a clear and brief explanation of the various themes as they appear.
Hom, Marlon K. Songs of Gold Mountain: Cantonese Rhymes From San
Francisco Chinatown. Berkeley: University of California Press,
A collection of 19th century Chinese folksongs, grouped
around themes like “Immigration
Blues” and “Lamentations of Estranged Wives.”
Wu, Cheng-Tsu, ed. “Chink!” A Documentary History of
Anti-Chinese Prejudice in America. New York: World Publishing,
A wide-ranging collection of documents including laws, speeches
of public officials, newspaper and magazine articles.
Yung, Judy. Unbound Voices: a Documentary History
of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Berkeley: University of California
A collection of oral histories, newspaper articles, interview
transcripts, and other primary sources focusing on
the thoughts and experiences
of Chinese women
in San Francisco from the 1890s through the 1940s.
Of special relevance to the lessons in this unit are the first and
second sections which
immigration experience and the life Chinese women left
behind in China. The immigration section includes the
by the author’s parents upon her
mother’s arrival in the United States and the
transcripts of their interrogations by INS officials.
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Primary Source Material – Websites
Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives.
Digital copy of Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
The Chinese in California, 1850-1925 (American Memory,
Library of Congress)
By searching this site with words like Chinese,
Chinese immigrant, and Chinese history, students
all kinds of interesting
interesting are oral histories recorded in the
1930s in which a cross section of Americans are
as I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California’s
Early Years, 1849-1900 consists of the
full texts and illustrations of 190 works documenting
the formative era of California’s history
through eyewitness accounts.
of Congress, Learning Page, Rise of Industrial America, 1876-1900:
Immigration to the United States, 1851-1900
Short overview of the topic and links to several
documents from Mark Twain and a Chinese
diplomatic document to
Angel Island: Immigrant Journeys of Chinese
Oral histories of several immigrants who
landed on Angel Island.
Immigrant and Ethnic
America at HarpWeek.com
American Experience 1857-1892.
Cartoons taken from Harper’s Weekly.
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National Center for History in the
Early Chinese Immigration and the
Process of Exclusion. (NH 164)
Co-published by the National Center
for History in the Schools and
1998. This unit
for high school
students is based
on a wide variety of primary
sources. In most cases the
entire primary source is included,
rather than excerpts. There is
a heavy emphasis
Chinese attempts to challenge
discriminatory legislation, including the Exclusion
Act, in the courts.
Asian Immigration to the United
States (NH 176)
Co-sponsored by The Organization
of American Historian, this
laws regulating Asian
immigration, including the
act, global forces
affecting immigration, and
anecdotal accounts of motivations of immigrants.
Chinese Historical and Cultural
Golden Legacy Curriculum
300 pages of curriculum materials
produced by the Chinese
Historical and Cultural
for elementary students,
some lessons are adaptable for middle
school students. Includes
to Chinatowns, immigration,
Chinese contributions to
mining. Some lessons
on the internet
through ERIC, and
the whole set can be ordered from CHCP through its website.
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This program that describes the evolution
of San Francisco’s
Chinatown from the 1850s
to the present.
The first half of the program
draws on many of the
same sources used in the
first two lessons of this
second half of the program
brings the story through
the war years and the civil
era up to
the present. Information
on how to obtain a copy of
video plus teaching resources
for the program are available online.
Becoming American: The Chinese
This is a three part series
from Bill Moyers and
PBS. It comes
guide and a guide for
high school educators
which ably supplement
the programs. The programs
are divided into 10-20
and the guide is
keyed to these segments. The
guides and other resources
are available online.
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Angel Island Immigration
Station Foundation offers
a short history of the
Five Views: A history of
Chinese Americans in California
Chinese Culture Center of