It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
What does it mean to become American? What is lost and what is gained in the process? In interviews with historians, descendants, and recent immigrants, this set of powerful Bill Moyers documentaries explores these questions through the dramatic experience of the Chinese in America. Includes Gold Mountain Dreams, Between Two Worlds, and No Turning Back.
Their ancestors came from one of the world’s most ancient civilizations. From a country rich in history and tradition, they journeyed across the globe to a new frontier rich in little but opportunity. Excluded from most of those opportunities by a dark wall of racial discrimination, they were forced to settle in stifling tenements that came to be called Chinatown. Yet they not only survived, but prospered, becoming one of the most successful immigrant groups in North America. This program presents a unique view of a unique place, taking viewers inside Chinatown to view the Chinese-American experience through the eyes of the people who live it every day.
On May 6th, 1882—on the eve of the greatest wave of immigration in American history—President Chester A. Arthur signed into law a unique piece of federal legislation. Called the Chinese Exclusion Act, it singled out as never before a specific race and nationality for exclusion, making it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America, and for Chinese nationals already here ever to become citizens of the United States. It is a deeply American story about immigration and national identity, civil rights and human justice; about how we define who can be an American, and what being an American means. The film examines the economic, cultural, social, legal, racial and political dimensions of the law; the forces and events that gave rise to it; and the effect it had, and continues to have, on American culture and identity. The Chinese Exclusion Act explores in riveting detail this little known, yet deeply resonant and revealing episode in American history—one that sheds enormous light on key aspects of the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture—during one of the most formative periods of U.S. history.
From PBS America Re-Framed Season 6 Episode 11.
Finding a cache of deteriorating 16mm home movies spanning from 1936 to 1951, Ali Kazimi deftly crafts a story of history and memory. RANDOM ACTS OF LEGACY reveals a rare portrait of a creative and enterprising Chinese American family in middle America during the Depression, and offers a counter-narrative to the stereotypes of Chinese Americans.
Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month this May and every day with this special PBS collection of stories that explores the history, traditions and culture of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.