Recently, the local National Public Radio affiliate station KQED’s program, Forum, hosted a discussion on the history of the Chinese railroad workers as the 150th anniversary of when Chinese workers began to work on the transcontinental railroad:
“The Transcontinental Railroad has been dubbed a feat of 19th century engineering and has been credited with opening California up to trade. Despite the importance of the project, little is known about the individual lives of the 12,000 Chinese immigrants who laid the track between Sacramento and the Sierra Nevada. Now, 150 years after Chinese workers began working on the railroad, we look back on the contributions of those workers and learn about the Stanford project that’s piecing together their personal stories.”
The program guests included:
- Connie Young Yu, descendant of a Chinese railroad worker and author of “Chinatown, San Jose, USA”
- Gordon Chang, professor of history and humanities, director of the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University and co-director of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project
- Russell Low, descendant of a Chinese railroad worker
- Sue Lee, executive director of the Chinese Historical Society of America
You can also download the mp3 instead of streaming the program – download here (23.6 MB).
I’ve been impressed with the amount of coverage the Chinese railroad workers have been getting this past year, especially with the Chinese railroad workers being inducted into the U.S. Labor Hall of Honor earlier this May.