Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Providing a Voice to Chinese Railroad Workers

From Stanford University:

Between 1865 and 1869, thousands of Chinese migrants toiled at a grueling pace and in perilous working conditions to help construct America's First Transcontinental Railroad.

At any given moment during construction, 10,000 to 15,000 Chinese workers were on the job. And yet remarkably, not a single document created by one of these workers – not even a letter – has ever been found.

Two Stanford scholars are leading a multi-year, transnational research endeavor that aims to finally give a voice to the Chinese laborers whose blasting techniques and sheer fortitude built the railway across the inhospitable mountains of the Sierra Nevada.

In an effort to produce a body of scholarship that will be the most authoritative study on the Chinese railroad worker experience in America, the project organizers are appealing to the public in the hopes of locating long lost documents. Read more...


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