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Beyond Victoriana

The Forgotten Story of the “First Chinese American”

America’s civil rights movements have all had their Martin Luther Kings, their César Chávezes and Gloria Steinems. But to whom can Chinese Americans point? Chinese have been in the United States in sizeable numbers since the California Gold Rush. They were shamefully mistreated, denied rights for most of a century and are generally thought to have borne everything the American establishment dished out passively and without much protest. This canard does an injustice to a little-known Bucknell alumnus, however. Nineteenth-century Chinese in America had a leader and a fighter in Wong Chin Foo (1847–98), a compelling and controversial figure whose story is a forgotten chapter in the history of the struggle for equal rights for all.

(Source)

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