Chinese Immigration to the USA: Background information when reading Take Me Home

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Take Me Home

by Brian Leung

Take Me Home by Brian Leung X
Take Me Home by Brian Leung
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Oct 2010, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2011, 304 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Chinese Immigration to the USA

Print Review

During much of the second half of the 19th century, the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) was able to maintain a monopoly on coal production because it controlled the only means of transportation into the Western territories. Thus it owned and operated all the coalmines, fixed coal prices to its own benefit and was able to establish its own standards - or lack of - for employee treatment and compensation. In 1875, UP cut the piecework rate paid to miners by one-fifth but made no corresponding reduction in prices charged at the Company stores. When the miners went on strike, UP responded by practicing a kind of reverse outsourcing, replacing striking laborers with recently immigrated Chinese laborers who accepted the lower pay.

Indignation and antipathy by White laborers escalated until it erupted on September 2, 1885, when it was rumored that miners in Colorado were receiving a pay raise but those in Rock Springs, Wyoming were not. Welsh and Swedish miners in Rock Springs, most of whom were members of the reportedly militant Knights of Labor rebelled, burning the homes of approximately 75 Chinese families, killing 28 and injuring 15. Many Chinese laborers fled and were picked up by Union Pacific trains.

Resentment and violence against Chinese laborers was not isolated to the Wyoming Territory but occurred in several locations, including Washington State, Montana and Oregon. Indeed it was the national hot button immigration issue of the day.

From 1882 to 1943 the United States strictly curtailed immigration from China to the United States. Competition between American workers and Chinese immigrants plus a growing nativism brought pressure upon Congress to take some kind of restrictive action, which began with the Chinese Exclusion Act of May 6, 1882. This national policy was the result of concern over the large number of Chinese who, responding to the need for inexpensive labor for construction of the transcontinental railroad, came to the United States. The law suspended immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years; permitted only those Chinese in the United States as of November 17, 1880, to stay, travel abroad, and return; and banned the naturalization of Chinese immigrants.

Even more severe exclusionary legislation was passed in May of 1892. The Act to Prohibit the Coming of Chinese Persons into the United States, referred to as the Geary Act, allowed Chinese laborers to travel to China and reenter the United States but its provisions were otherwise more restrictive than the 1885 law, requiring Chinese immigrants to register and secure a certificate as proof of their right to be in the United States. Those who failed to have the required papers or witnesses were either imprisoned or deported. Other restrictive immigration acts affecting citizens of Chinese ancestry followed. However, during World War II, when China and the United States were allies, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Act to Repeal the Chinese Exclusion Acts. This action on December 13, 1943, also lifted restrictions on naturalization. However until the Immigration Act of October 1965, numerous laws continued to have a restrictive impact on Chinese immigration.

Related Links

Article by Donna Chavez

This article was originally published in November 2010, and has been updated for the November 2011 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access, become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Leonardo da Vinci
    Leonardo da Vinci
    by Walter Isaacson
    The name Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most recognized in all of Western history, and his ...
  • Book Jacket: The Immortalists
    The Immortalists
    by Chloe Benjamin
    On a summer day in 1969 in New York City, the Gold children agree to seek out a mysterious ...
  • Book Jacket: The Kites
    The Kites
    by Romain Gary, Miranda Richmond Mouillot
    Published by New Directions for the first time in English, Romain Gary's The Kites tells a story of ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

A story that is at once quirky, charming, heartbreaking, suspenseful and poignant.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Days When Birds Come Back
    by Deborah Reed

    A graceful testament to endurance, rebuilding, and the possibilities of coming home.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Mothers of Sparta

Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir

A dazzling literary memoir with shades of Mary Karr, Anne Lamott and Jenny Lawson.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A J O A Thousand M B W O S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.