Historian K. Scott Wong explains what it means to be a descendant of a paper son

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“That generation, my generation, who did not know that our grandfathers were ‘paper sons’ because it was a secret that was kept in our families and never talked about…And you realize, ‘Oh, I’m part of that long history of immigration, exclusion, assimilation, acculturation or marginalization — all of those processes that take place has its seeds in exclusion.’ – Historian and professor K. Scott Wong

K. Scott Wong is a historian and the Charles R. Keller Professor of History at Williams College. In this exclusive clip from THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT PBS documentary Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu, Wong explains what it means to him to be descended from a paper son and how the legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Act is a part of his identity.

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About K. Scott Wong

K. Scott Wong is the Charles R. Keller Professor of History and Public Affairs and the Schumann Fellow for Democratic Studies at Williams College where he teaches a variety of courses in Asian American history, American immigration history, the history of the American West, history and memory, and American Studies. He has written numerous articles in journals and anthologies and is the co-editor, with Sucheng Chan, of Claiming America: Constructing Chinese American Identities during the Exclusion Era (Temple, 1998.) Most recently, he published “Americans First”: Chinese Americans and the Second World War (Harvard University Press, 2005.) When not teaching or writing, he likes to fly fish for trout and is still trying to fingerpick like Mississippi John Hurt. Learn more about K. Scott Wong on the Williams College website history.williams.edu/profile/kwong