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The Chinese Exclusion Act, passed on May 6, 1882, was the first major restriction placed on immigration in the U.S., and the only immigration law that explicitly barred a specific group from entering the country. The Exclusion Act forbade Chinese "skilled and unskilled laborers" from entering the U.S. for a period of ten years, required Chinese who…

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Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
Date: 1882

This photograph from the Detroit News, December 16, 1978, shows a Vietnamese family arriving in the United States. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, thousands of refugees fled Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in search of new lives in the United States. Although often stigmatized as "boat people," the family here clearly arrived by plane; their…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1978

Lodgers in a boarding room on New York's Bayard Street charging "five cents a spot" exemplify the overcrowded, frequently squalid living conditions that immigrants in New York City faced at the turn of the twentieth century. As documented in Jacob Riis's groundbreaking How the Other Half Lives, which mixed Riis's photography with his journalistic…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1890

Many Chinese immigrants in the nineteenth century, the majority of whom were men, took their first jobs as domestic servants for white families in the West. They were responsible for cooking, cleaning, laundry, and sometimes childcare. One reason for this was the scarcity of female labor (and women generally) in the West at that time; one result…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1850

This photograph by Lewis Hine was taken in a New York City tenement in 1910. Hine was a documentary photographer who frequently turned his lens to the plight of immigrants, workers, and the poor. This family group, perhaps among the approximately two and a half million Italians who arrived in New York in the years 1890-1910, lives in squalid and…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1910

Lewis Hine snapped this photograph of immigrants "climbing into America" after arriving at Ellis Island in 1908. At this time most of the immigrants arriving in New York came from Eastern and Southern Europe, a fact suggested by these arrivals' clothing and prominent moustachios.

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: 1905

This timeline tracks significant events in African American history between 1863 and 1960.

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Item Type: Timeline
Date: 1863

In this interview, Thomas Chinn (1909-1997) recalls his parents' experiences as Chinese immigrants in white-dominated American society. Chinn was founder, publisher, and editor of the Chinese Digest, the first English-language weekly newspaper for Chinese-Americans in the United States, and later the Chinese News. He was also the primary founder of…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: Circa 1990

Thomas Chinn (1909-1997) was the founder, publisher, and editor of the Chinese Digest, the first English-language weekly newspaper for Chinese Americans in the United States, and later the Chinese News. In this excerpt from an interview, he describes how Chinese immigrants communicated with friends and family in China, using a system of…

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: Circa 1990

Thomas Chinn (1909-1997) was the founder, publisher, and editor of the Chinese Digest, the first English-language weekly newspaper for Chinese Americans in the United States, and later the Chinese News. In this interview, Chinn describes the origins of the Chinese family associations that sprang up as a way to provide for struggling immigrants.

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Item Type: Oral History
Date: Circa 1990