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The Chinese Exclusion Act and Its Effects on Chinese Immigrants

Professor John Jung

The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882-1943) prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the United States. This lecture will describe the Act’s many harmful effects on the Chinese immigrants, some of which linger today. Chinese men lived in “bachelor societies” as family formation was disrupted for decades. Men with families in China were not allowed to bring them, so families were kept separated for several generations. Without family life, gambling, prostitution, and opium smoking flourished. The Chinese resorted to illegal entry as “paper sons” using false documents and had to abandon their true surnames. Other racist laws prevented Chinese from working in many occupations, so they had to work primarily doing “feminine” tasks, such as laundry, cooking, and domestic service.

Instructor: John Jung is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at CSU Long Beach. He reinvented himself as a historian, writing five books and giving many talks around the country on Chinese American history. He grew up in Macon, Georgia, the son of Chinese immigrants who owned a laundry. This experience led him to write Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain.

Coordinator: Candace Gietzen

Course Number: OSHR-70163   Credit: 0 units

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