The Committee of 100 (C100) commends President-Elect Donald Trump and congratulates Elaine Chao on her nomination as the next United States Secretary of Transportation. Chao is the first Asian American woman to be appointed to a Presidential Cabinet in American history. From 2001-2009, she served as President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor.
There are a number of ways in which Asian Americans are thriving economically. They are overrepresented among the ranks of professional-managerial workers in the U.S., and have higher average incomes than whites. On average, they are also more educated than Americans of other racial groups, including whites. These facts lead many to conclude that Asian Americans represent a “model minority”—a group whose hard work, initiative, personal responsibility, and success offer proof that American meritocracy works as intended.
Steam powered locomotives were invented by an Englishman Richard Trevithick in 1804 and the first railroads and routes were built in Europe. In the 1850-60s, railroad lines were built on the East Coast to support the Civil War, mainly completed by the US Army. Our Transcontinental Railroad (TCRR), built from 1863 – 1869 was the greatest infrastructure project in the 19th Century.
Sing Lau Kee should be remembered today but his legacy as a war hero of World War I but became mired in United States immigration policies that the politicians of the time openly admitted were designed to prevent Chinese from coming to America and becoming citizens because of racism. Today the United States Congress and various state governments have issued statements of regret and apologies for the unfair laws they passed against the Chinese.
Yung Wing (容闳 Róng Hóng) was born in 1828 and began his education at the age of seven in a missionary school in 1835 in the Portuguese colony of Macau, geographically close to his home village of Nam Ping (about four miles away in Guangdong Province) but impossibly far for a child. He attempted to run away once with a group of girl students but they were caught and humiliated in front of the other students. He dropped out of school at the age of twelve in 1840 after his father died in order to help support his mother and four siblings.
Jerry Yang is giving a quick tour of the conference room at his private investment firm in Palo Alto, Calif. It’s dotted with gifts and photos from his 20 years in Silicon Valley. Yahoo’s 45-year-old billionaire co-founder stops before a glass deal toy on a low table. The plaque commemorates what may have been one of the dumbest business decisions of all time. Yahoo’s board agreed to sell 523 million Alibaba shares, half of its stake, back to Alibaba at $13 apiece.
Chinese Railroad Workers Honored by U. S. Department of Labor
Because the nearly 12,000 Chinese railroad workers who completed the western portion of the transcontinental railway had never been officially acknowledged for their role, the Dept of Labor finally corrected that injustice.
Joseph Warren Stilwell is regarded as one of the two most honored American generals in the People’s Republic of China. The other general was Claire Chennault, the general in charge of the Flying Tigers, the brave Americans of the American Volunteer Group that fought in the skies against the Japanese on behalf of China.
Many hours in the final years in the life of Samuel Clemens (universally called by his pen name of Mark Twain by then) were spent in contemplation of the past. He spent much time working on his autobiography and memoirs.
Samuel Clemens expanded on his pro-Chinese feelings in his 1872 book, Roughing It. The book is a narration of the life of Samuel Clemens in the American West during the 1860s after he’d deserted the Confederate cause during the Civil War and traveled to Nevada and California.
Mark Twain became better known to posterity for his association with African Americans after the release of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876 and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1884. The novels were based on life in Missouri before the Civil War and were the novels that defined his career, most notably to generations of American school children that have been assigned to read them.
Mark Twain experienced great success in the 1870s and 1880s with “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” as well as with works like “Roughing It” and the “Innocents Abroad.” He even became the publisher for the “Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant.”
Eddie Fung was assigned to the Number 3 group of prisoners of war assigned to the 5th Railway Regiment of the Imperial Japanese Army working on the northern half of the railroad being built through Burma towards the southern group working up from Thailand (then called Siam.)
Allied bombing raids picked up in Thailand in 1944 as more bombers became available and their bases drew closer to the Japanese home islands as the Allied armies advanced. Since the POW camps weren’t marked visibly from the air, in contravention of international laws of war, the US Army Air Forces often bombed them in the mistaken belief that they were Japanese encampments and supply depots.
Eddie Fung was the only Chinese American to be taken prisoner by Imperial Japan during World War II. His personal background and experiences had much to do with how he survived and forms one of the most interesting and unique biographies of the 20th Century.
In November 1941, 2nd Battalion of the 131st Field Artillery, 36th Infantry Division (Texas National Guard) shipped out from Texas. Nobody on board the train knew where their final destination would be, possibly Luzon or Manila in the Philippines they speculated. All they knew was that they were heading westwards.
Tyrus Wong’s cinematic artistry has been displayed and enjoyed by many generations of movie goers around the world for more than seven decades. And most of us have never heard of him! He began his career in animation with Walt Disney in 1938, and when “Bambi” was conceptualized, Tyrus presented backdrop artwork using Sung Dynasty landscapes which was instantly loved by Disney, and his artistry revolutionized animation.
Scott D Seligman is the author of The First Chinese American: The Remarkable Life of Wong Chin Foo, a biography of the 19th century civil rights activist who coined the term ‘Chinese American’.