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Screening and Discussion: “The Chinese Exclusion Act”

April 23, 2019, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

PBS American Experience episode “The Chinese Exclusion Act” will be screened, followed by a discussion with Beth Lew-Williams, assistant professor of history at Princeton University.

This PBS American Experience episode examines the origin, history and impact of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already here ever to become U.S. citizens. The first in a long line of acts targeting the Chinese for exclusion, it remained in force for more than 60 years. The film reveals the hardships and racial animosities that Chinese Americans faced throughout the duration of the law, including educational segregation, forced registration and lynchings. The episode also reveals a forgotten history of Chinese American resilience and resistance to the 15 laws enacted by the federal government, as well as those passed at the state and local levels. By challenging the constitutionality of these laws and the affronts to their civil rights through community organizing, civil disobedience, and the courts system, Chinese Americans brought 10,000 cases to federal courts and set a number of legal precedents that remain intact today. Through the lens of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a wider, deeply American story comes to life, one that embodies the issues of globalization, immigration, labor, and civil rights that continue to dominate headlines today. Run time: 49 minutes.

Beth Lew-Williams, assistant professor of history at Princeton University lead a post-screening discussion. Her book, “The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America” maps the tangled relationships between local racial violence, federal immigration policy, and U.S. imperial ambitions in Asia.


Co-sponsored by the library and the Princeton Civil Rights Commission.

Presented with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this programming do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Details

Date:
April 23, 2019
Time:
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:

Venue

Community Room – First Floor
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542 United States
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Phone:
609-924-9529