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To Save China, to Save Ourselves The Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance of New York

by Renqiu Yu

Part of the Asian American History and Culture Series Series

To Save China, to Save Ourselves The Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance of New York Synopsis

Combining archival research in Chinese language sources with oral history interviews, Ranqiu Yu examines the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance (CHLA), an organization that originated in 1933 to help Chinese laundry workers break their isolation in American society. Yu brings to life the men who labored in New York laundries, depicting their meager existence, their struggles against discrimination and exploitation, and their dreams of returning to China. The persistent efforts of the CHLA succeeded in changing the workers' status in American society and improving the image of the Chinese among the American public. Yu is especially concerned with the political activities of the CHLA, which was founded in reaction to proposed New York City legislation that would have put the Chinese laundries out of business. When the conservative Chinese social organization could not help the launderers, they broke with tradition and created their own organization. Not only did the CHLA defeat the legislative requirements that would have closed them down, but their people's diplomacy won American support for China during its war with Japan. The CHLA staged a campaign in the 1930s and 40s which took as its slogan, To Save China, To Save Ourselves. Focusing on this campaign, Yu also examines the complex relationship between the democratically oriented CHLA and the Chinese American left in the 1930s. Renqiu Yu is Associate Professor of History in the Division of Humanities at Purchase College, State University of New York.

To Save China, to Save Ourselves The Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance of New York Press Reviews

Through extensive research of Chinese newspapers, such as China Daily News, and internal organizational documents, leavened with interviews of two dozen elderly Chinese laundrymen, Yu has reconstructed the political history o the Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance (CHLA)... Aside from documenting the history of an important labor organization and giving voice to the oppressed Chinese laundrymen, Yu has written one of the few works that focus on the Chinese on the East Coast during the Twentieth century. --The Journal of Asian Studies Yu's work, well-written and thoroughly researched, chronicles the CHLA's diverse successes and failures. To Save China is a good addition to the literature on Asian immigrants... --Choice Drawing upon Chinese-language sources, oral interviews, and FBI files, Yu has produced a rich and complex history of the CHLA. --The Journal of American History [T]his study is a major contribution to Chinese American history, Asian American Studies, and American immigration history. --Amerasia Journal

Book Information

ISBN: 9781566393959
Publication date: 1st September 1995
Author: Renqiu Yu
Publisher: Temple University Press,U.S.
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 253 pages
Categories: Service industries, Entrepreneurship,

About Renqiu Yu

Renqiu Yu is Associate Professor of History in the Division of Humanities at Purchase College, State University of New York.

More About Renqiu Yu

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