Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain

Overview

A social history of the role of the Chinese laundry on the survival of early Chinese immigrants in the U.S.during the Chinese Exclusion law period, 1882-1943, and in Canada during the years of the Head Tax, 1885-1923, and exclusion law, 1923-1947. Why and how Chinese got into the laundry business and how they had to fight discriminatory laws and competition from white-owned laundries to survive. Description of their lives, work demands, and living conditions. Reflections by a sample of children who grew up living...
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Overview

A social history of the role of the Chinese laundry on the survival of early Chinese immigrants in the U.S.during the Chinese Exclusion law period, 1882-1943, and in Canada during the years of the Head Tax, 1885-1923, and exclusion law, 1923-1947. Why and how Chinese got into the laundry business and how they had to fight discriminatory laws and competition from white-owned laundries to survive. Description of their lives, work demands, and living conditions. Reflections by a sample of children who grew up living in the backs of their laundries provide vivid first-person glimpses of the difficult lives of Chinese laundrymen and their families.

Excerpts From Reviews
.. a comprehensive historical study of the Chinese laundries in the United States, a profound analysis of the psychological experiences of the Chinese laundrymen in America and their families in China; and above all, written by someone who has intimate experiences with the Chinese laundry...Renqiu Yu, Director, Asian Studies Program, SUNY, Purchase College

Prof. Jung's book has made a significant contribution to the history of Chinese laundries in America. The story is best told by someone like Jung who experienced a 'laundry life,' and understands its psychological impact on the Chinese laundrymen and their families.
Murray K. Lee, San Diego Chinese Historical Museum

... An academically solid effort that is much enhanced by several personal narratives from other "Children of the Laundries." This rewarding study ... is a long overdue analysis of a familiar experience hidden in plain sight. Mel Brown, Chinese Heart of Texas, The San Antonio Chinese Community, 1875-1975

...The personal life stories, with their inner thought,feeling, values, attitudes, work experiences and survival hardships, are skillfully presented with penetrating insights and observations. These perspectives present an overall picture of the history and the life and work of the laundrymen. ... BanSeng Hoe, Ph.D.
Curator of Asian Studies, Canadian Museum of Civilization

Reader Comments

...I grew up knowing only the few Chinese laundries in the Washington DC area, and some of our cousins_ in New York. But I never thought much about the common threads until I started looking through your books. Thanks for the education and the enlightenment!.... Get Moy

I appreciated that you wrote this book, because it has given me a deeper perspective in what it means to be a second generation Chinese American of emigrant parents who operated a Chinese laundry. I understand that all minorities that emigrated to the United States in search of a better life had their struggles with survival and discrimination, this makes me not only value and respect my parents, but for other emigrant parents who desired their children to be prosperous.

It is amazing to learn how others grew up with similar experiences...the excerpts made me both laugh and cry. One thing for sure is that growing up in a Chinese laundry is colourful and interesting. Working class ethnic culture is so sur-real. Elwin Xie, Vancouver

Thank you so much for preserving this part of history. I think you will be long remembered for your work. Ken Lee, Ohio State University.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and haven't come across such an interesting and well-researched book on American Chinese history since "The Mississippi Chinese" by Loewen. Well done!

Book Review: http://tinyurl.com/ayyrxc8

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466302051
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 9/22/2011
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Macon, Georgia, where his immigrant parents from China, the only Chinese in the city, owned a laundry. After moving to California, he majored in psychology at U. C. Berkeley and went on to earn a Ph.D. at Northwestern University. Author of several academic textbooks, including a second edition in 2010 of "Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Behavior," he was a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach for 40 years. Upon retiring, he created a new career in writing 4 books on the history of Chinese immigrants and their family-run businesses and making presentations about them all over the country to pay tribute to these pioneers.
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