Echoes of ExclusionSunday, May 7 | 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
The Magnes - Auditorium
- History & Biography
In her memoir Orphan Bachelors, Fae Myenne Ng includes a haunting quote from her father: “America didn’t have to kill any Chinese, the Exclusion Act ensured none would be born.” The Chinese exclusion era started in 1882 and ended (at least on paper) some sixty years later, but, as the authors in this session profoundly reveal, its echoes still reverberate from coast to coast. Ng’s memoir recounts her years growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, surrounded by so-called orphan bachelors, casualties of the Exclusion Act who nevertheless shared their stories with the receptive young Ng. In West: A Translation, poet Paisley Rekdal vividly documents how the heroic narrative of the transcontinental railroad is intertwined with the history of Chinese exclusion. Her innovative, multimedia narrative poem comments not only on this specific history, but on the very nature of historiography. And in Mott Street, award-winning writer Ava Chin vividly narrates the painstaking process of tracing generations of her family and legacy of resilience, all tied into a building in another Chinatown, this one in NYC. Novelist Kathryn Ma, author most recently of The Chinese Groove, will moderate this timely discussion.
Book signing information: Books, Inc., at the venue