"The Lucky Ones" uncovers the story of the Tape family in post-gold rush, racially explosive San Francisco. Mae Ngai paints a fascinating picture of how the role of immigration broker allowed patriarch Jeu Dip (Joseph Tape) to both protest and profit from discrimination, and of the Tapes as the first of a new social type--middle-class Chinese Americans.
Tape family history illuminates American history. Seven-year-old Mamie attempts to integrate California schools, resulting in the landmark 1885 case "Tape v. Hurley." The family's intimate involvement in the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair reveals how Chinese American brokers essentially invented Chinatown, and so Chinese culture, for American audiences. Finally, "The Lucky Ones" reveals aspects--timely, haunting, and hopeful--of the lasting legacy of the immigrant experience for all Americans.
This expanded edition features a new preface and a selection of historical documents from the Chinese exclusion era that forms the backdrop to the Tape family's story.
About the Author
Mae M. Ngai, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies, is a U.S. legal and political historian interested in questions of immigration, citizenship, and nationalism. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1998 and taught at the University of Chicago before returning to Columbia in 2006. Ngai is author of IMPOSSIBLE SUBJECTS: ILLEGAL ALIENS AND THE MAKING OF MODERN AMERICA (Princeton, 2004) and THE LUCKY ONES: ONE FAMILY AND THE EXTRAORDINARY INVENTION OF CHINESE AMERICA (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010). Professor Ngai has held fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, NYU Law School, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Ngai has written on immigration history and policy for the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and the Boston Review. Before becoming a historian Ngai was a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City. She is now working on YELLOW AND GOLD: THE CHINESE MINING DIASPORA, 1848-1908, a study of Chinese goldminers in the nineteenth-century North American West, Australia, and South Africa.