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07/18/23 National Geographic: These Chinese immigrants opened the doors to the American West

July 18, 2023 6:22 PM | Elyse Wong (Administrator)

Connie Young YuRecognizing the power of art to challenge and change us, National Geographic partnered with the artist collective, For Freedoms, on a series of photo essays inspired by American history. One of those photo essays, by photographer Philip Cheung, features descendants of the Chinese immigrants who helped build the Transcontinental Railroad and includes CHCP Advisory Board Member Connie Young Yu.

The following are excerpts from the 07/18/23 National Geographic photo essay by photographer Philip Cheung:

As many as 20,000 Chinese were recruited during the building of America’s first transcontinental railroad. They lived in segregated areas, earned less than their white counterparts, and were denied citizenship after Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. Descendants, historians, and activists are fighting for recognition of the Chinese workers’ contributions.

Connie Young Yu , a historian and an advocate for recognition of the contributions of Chinese railroad workers, is the great-granddaughter of Lee Wong Sang, who worked on the Central Pacific Railroad.

For more information: Read the full 07/18/23 National Geographic essay.

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