The Chinese Exclusion Act

 

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Help us bring this important film and other stories about the Asian American community to all Americans and communities abroad by making a tax-deductible gift of $50 or more today to support our continued educational and community outreach efforts.

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This couldn’t come at a more important time in our country… because it tells a story, it tells our story. It shows what was done to our people, but it is also relevant to our present moment, and what is going on today, with anti-immigration laws and prejudices and what’s going on with the Muslim ban. They all have their roots, legally and politically in Chinese exclusion.”- Historian Mae Ngai at THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT screening.

*The new DVD includes Chinese subtitles in simplified and traditional Chinese.

ABOUT THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT DOCUMENTARY

THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT premieres as a special presentation on PBS’ American Experience on Tuesday, May 29. Check local listings.

CAAM is one of the co-producers of and is leading the educational outreach for the new PBS documentary film THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT by award-winning documentary filmmakers Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu of Steeplechase Films. This film sheds a light on the important connections between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture. By examining the socio-economic and geo-political forces that led to the Act, the film will uncover its unmistakable and wide-ranging consequences on national attitudes towards race, culture, politics, and society. At its core, this is a film about American identity, tracing the arc of what has defined being American from the time the United States was a fledgling republic through its astronomical rise as a world superpower.

THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT will have its broadcast premiere as a Special Presentation of the acclaimed PBS series American Experience. This film documents in fascinating detail the events leading to, causes of, consequences, and continuing impact of the only federal legislation in United States history ever to single out and name a specific race and nationality for exclusion from immigration and citizenship.

The film includes powerful and illuminating on-camera testimony from historians Erika Lee (University of Minnesota), Mary Ting Yi Lui (Yale University), Mae Ngai (Columbia University), Jean Pfaelzer (University of Delaware), Kevin Starr (USC-Dornsife), Jack (John Kuo Wei) Tchen (Founding Director, A/P/A Institute at NYU), Ling-Chi Wang (UC Berkeley), K. Scott Wong (Williams College), Renqiu Yu (SUNY-Purchase), along with Phillip Choy (architect, historian and archivist), Michael C. Lin (Chairman, 1882 Project), David Lei (cultural advocate), and Martin Gold (attorney and author).

Click here to learn more about the film

What made the Chinese survive the most difficult conditions in this country is mainly their identification with American founding principles, and also their faith in themselves, and they refused to be excluded.” -Renqui Yu (Professor of History, SUNY-Purchase)

The film guides viewers through the hardships and racial animosities that Chinese Americans faced throughout the duration of the law, including educational segregation, forced registration, and lynchings. THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT 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.

CAAM’S CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN

From August – September 2016, we hosted a crowdfunding campaign that raised over $76,267 from over 415 people in support of educational and community outreach program for this film. Our crowdfunding campaign was the first step of our larger goal to raise $400,000 to complete the creation, development and execution of our national strategy to provide educational curriculum about the Chinese Exclusion Act and host educational screenings of the film to students and teachers across the nation from 2017-2018.

In total, we have raised over $145,000 since August 2016 to support our educational and community outreach efforts.

We appreciate everyone who shared this campaign and film with their friends, relatives and networks. Thanks to each of you, more people now know about this landmark, little known piece of federal legislation and why it is relevant to understanding the American experience – past, present, and future.

We are still actively fundraising to make the film and educational materials available to more communities across the nation. You can support this campaign by making a tax-deductible donation here.
Click here to see the list of campaign supporters (as of July 9, 2019)
Christina Accomando
Ginger Adams
Anna Alves
Stephanie Anderson
Anonymous (2)
Derek Attig
Cindy and Christopher Au
Bernadine Baines
Jenny Banh
Dominique Barbeau
Teresita Bautista
Denise Bednar
Bill Bishop
Linda Blackaby
Mitchell Bonner
Deann Borshay Liem and Paul Liem
George Bradford
Polly Brandmeyer
Tracy Brown
Tina Bui
Wen Cao
Charlie Cardillo
Jocelyn S. Carter
Kay, Karl, and Karsten Ch’ien
Letha and Reid Ch’ien
Marilyn Champa
Alex Chan
Andy Chan
Chun-Fai Chan
David Chan
Elisa Chan
Gayle Chan
Heather Chan
Hingman Chan
Jane G. and Ronald K. Chan
Joyce Chan
Lily Chan
Marcia Chan
Peggy and Burgess Chan
Rico Chan
Sheree Chan
Tinyan Chan
Betty and Phil Chang
Harry Chang
Jade Chang
Mei Chang
Paul Chang
Philip Chang
Jane Chang Tom,
   In Memory of Dr. Sanford Tom
Lilian Chau and Seth Katz
Eunice Chee
Abby Chen
John Chen
Kelvin Chen
Matty Chen
Nain Chen
Peter W. Chen
Stephanie Chen
Jean Cheng
Martha Cheng
Adam Cheung
Sherlyn Chew
Thomas Chew
John Chiang
May Chiang
Jennie Chien
Susan and Bruce Chien
Lily Chien-Davis
Amy Chin
Arthur Chin
Desmond Chin
Heather Chin
Paul Chin
Stanley Chin
Yung Chin
Lenore Chinn
David Choi
Pauline Choi
Stanley Choi
Cecilia Chu
Jennifer Chu
Michael Chu
Nicole Chu
Robert Chu
Wilson Chu
Jennie Chuang
Mary Cruz
Shari DeBoer
Chung Der
Cynthia Der and Ryan Coombs
William Dere
Colin Dickey
Carla Din
Anna Don
Lester Dun
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Judy Eisenbrand
Celeste A. Ellet-Woo and Darryl M. Woo
Candice and Norman Eng
Julianne Eng
Kenneth Eng
Norman Eng
Suzanne Enzerink
Margaret Espinola
Lily Fan
Leslie Fannon Zhang
Leslie Fields-Cruz
Nanette Fok
Deanna Fone
Evelyn Fong
Janet Fong
Jason Fong
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Jim Fong
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Harriet Fukushima
Dagmar Fung
William Fung
Yuriko Gamo Romer
Paul Garlow
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Stephen Gong
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Julie Ha
Dennis Ham
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Kristan Higgins
Melody Hom
Natalie Hom Oyung
Julie Hood
Michael Hsieh
Stephen Hsieh
Trent Hu
Jessica Huang
Milana Huang
Candace Huey
Clinton Huey
Judy Huey
Wayne Huey
Brian Hui
J. Hui
David Inoue
Douglas Inouye
Karen Ishizuka
Dennis Jang
Serina Jensen
Audrey Jeong
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Mary Jew
Weirong Jiang
Catherine Johnston and Paul Li
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Maria Judice
Barbara Jue
Jennifer Jung
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Ethan Kan
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Alice Kawazoe
David Kelkis
Esther Kim
Han Kim
Lawrence Kim
Penni Kimmel
Mike King
Ailynn Knox-Collins
Kathy Ko Chin and Douglas Chin
Kathryn Kojimoto
Gail Kong
May and George Koo
Donna Kotake and Eddie Wong
Peter Kriz
Karna Kurata
Dora Kuruma
Mike Kwan
James Kwok
Anne Kwong
Bonnie Kwong
Alice Lai
Claudia Lam
Fai-Loy Lam
Frederick Lam
Leona Lau and Joseph Yoshino
Richard Lawler
Alfred Lee
Amy Ai Yu-Mei and Dr. Robert E. Lee
Annie Lee
Benny Lee
Brenda Lee
Carole Lee
Donna Lee and Mark Jun Lee
Ellen Lee
Emery Lee
Fai Lee
Gail and Tony Lee
Gordon Lee
Henry Lee
John Lee
Justine Lee
Karina Lee
Matthew Lee
Melvina and Jeff Lee
MJ Lee
Patricia Lee
Susan and Jeff Lee
Wayne Lee
Kathleen Lee,
  In Honor of David Lei
Carol Lei
Linda and David Lei
Tiffany Lei
Myong Leigh and Mark Haugen
Andrew Leong
Joan T. and William Leong, Jr.
Claudia Leung
Amy Lew
Cynthia Lew
Jeffrey Lew
Kitty L. Lew
Sherman Lew
Elaine Lew-Smith
Carol Li
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Esther and Calvin Li
Mengying Li
Michelle Li
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Charlene D. Low and Henry Murakami
Joanne Low
Vivian Low
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Li Lu
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Dickman Lum
Elaine Lum
Robert Luna
Siwei Ma
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Debbie Ng and Angela Echiverri, M.D.
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Tram Nguyen
Chris Nishida
Patricia Nishimoto
Hideaki Noguchi
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Katie O’Rourke
Jeffrey Ow
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Daniel Paradis
Ling-yuh Pattie
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Shana Pradeep
Claudia and Leroy Quan
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Gail J. Silva
Judy S. Sit
Shirley Sneve
Penelope and Rossi Snipper
Shelley Soo-Li
Nick Stember
Carrie Stewart
Lanlian Szeto
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Jennifer Talley
Michelle Tanaka
Anne Tang
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Alice Teng
Brian Teng
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Shiree Teng
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Pamela Tom
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Anna and Kan Toy
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Harry Trinh
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Yuen Wan
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Jane Watanabe
Elaine Watson
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Kevin Wong
Li-Ann Wong
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Sophia Wong
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Vicky Wong
William Wong
Zee Wong
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   Mok
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Tommy Woon
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Dennis Wu
Kenneth Wu
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Sinan Xin
Kevin Xu
Chungkai Yan
Xinning Yang
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Frank Yee
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Nancy Yee
Margaret Au Yeung
Anthony Yin
Vivian Yip
Erik Young
Janet Young
Jeannie L. Young and Franklin Mah
Laura and Wallace Young
Mel and Richard Young
Myra Young
Sharon Young
Victor Young
Daniel Yu
Emily Yu
Philip Yu
Susan Yu
Lucy Yuan
Margaret Yuen,
  In Honor of Woo Shee Yee
Judy Yung
Wei Zhang and Peter Rasmussen
Hai-Fan Zhou
Taylor Zhou
Tenghui Zhu

 

“THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT” is a production of Steeplechase Films and The Center for Asian American Media, in association with The New-York Historical Society. The Chinese Exclusion Act has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Additional funding provided by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and The Committee of 100. Major funding for American Experience is provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance and by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding provided by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and public television viewers.
CAAM’s”Who is American?” Immigration, Exclusion, & the American Dream educational and community outreach program for “THE CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT” PBS documentary, is supported in part, with support from the Committee of 100 and with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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We regret any errors or omissions. Please contact 415.836.0814 x 102 or membership [at] caamedia [dot] org for any corrections.