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Oral Histories of Chinese Railroad Worker Families

The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford is finding ways to give the workers a voice through interviews with families who trace their lineage in China and North America to the Chinese who helped build the railroad. The coordinators of the oral interviews, Connie Young Yu and Barre Fong conducted nearly fifty interviews from early 2013 through Spring 2018. The project includes conversations with descendants three, four, and five generations after the period of the workers who built the railroad. During the interviews, family members share documents, mementos, and stories that have formed their family collective memory. The interviews reveal personal insights and feelings of those who count among their descendants Chinese who helped build the Central Pacific Railroad.