“The greatest engineering feat of the 19th century began in 1863, when the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific railroads broke ground. Two years later, contractors began hiring large numbers of Chinese migrants, many from California, to help with the monumental construction project.”
“Chinese Railroad Workers in North America, an online digital archive that commemorates the work of thousands of Chinese immigrants in building the Transcontinental Railroad and seeks ‘to give a voice’ to them, was unveiled at Stanford University earlier this week.”
The story of Raymond Chong, descendant of a Chinese railroad worker who has spent the last 10 years looking for his roots in Kaiping City, Guangdong Province was featured on May 28, 2014 on ITV 55.5 Life, a Mandarin program broadcast from Houston, Texas. The Chinese Railroad Workers Project has recorded an oral history with Chong for the Digital Archive.
Houston ITV 55.5 Life 美南國際電視節目: 生活 also can be found on Facebook here
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center launched the project “A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America” to gather photos from all parts of the U.S. on May 10th, the anniversary of the Golden Spike. The Stanford Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project participated by shooting photos at the Cantor Arts Museum at Stanford where the Golden Spike is on display. Several of us marveled at the artifact, and Gordon H. Chang explained the image of Chinese servants in the large portrait of the Stanford family.
May 10, 2014 was the 145th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory, Utah. The ceremony celebrated the meeting of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads to complete the transcontinental railroad in 1869. There was a wide range of events and articles sparked by this anniversary, many of them highlighting the work of the Stanford Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project.
A Memorial Project has been launched to build a monument to the Chinese railroad workers in the Sierra Nevada. Steven Lee is heading the Memorial Project, and Bay Area journalist Rick Quan has produced a video to introduce the project and to raise funds. The Stanford Railroad Workers in North America Project is assisting in the campaign, and Project participants Denise Khor and Hilton Obenzinger are interviewed in the short video: