American Experience: Chinese Exclusion Act

Culture & Identity  •  Grants  •  History

WCVE Studios

23 Sesame St. Richmond, Virginia 23235
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WCVE is hosting a special screening of the PBS American Experience documentary The Chinese Exclusion Act with a panel discussion and reception afterwards.

The event is free but registration is required. Doors open at 1:30 and event ends at 4:30 pm.

This event is supported in part by a grant from Virginia Humanities.


Moderator Scott Tong–author and long-time public radio journalist–Scott Tong opened Marketplace’s first permanent bureau in China, and served as Shanghai bureau chief in 2006. Upon returning to the United States, he began work on his first book: A Village with My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World (University of Chicago Press, 2017). It takes a long view of China’s economic opening, told through the lives of five people across five generations in his own family. He currently serves as correspondent for Marketplace’s Sustainability Desk, where his coverage includes energy, the environment, natural resources and the global economy.

Adrienne Berard: Author of  Water Tossing Boulders, How a Family of Chinese Immigrants Led the First Fight to Desegregate Schools in the Jim Crown South. In 1924, thirty years before Brown v. Board of Education, Martha Lum and her older sister Berda were barred from attending middle school in Rosedale, Mississippi. Gong Lum v. Rice was the first U.S. Supreme Court case to challenge the constitutionality of racial segregation. A graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, Ms. Berard has been the Writer-in-Residence at Delta State University in Mississippi and now resides in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Ted Gong: Ted is Executive Director and one of the founders of the 1882 Foundation and President of the DC chapter of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance. The 1882 Foundation was created to persuade Congress to apologize for the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 and achieved its goal with Resolutions passed unanimously by both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives in 2011-12. Before retiring in 2012, Ted was a career diplomat in the U.S. Department of State where he served primarily in East Asia on policy and operational issues related to border management and security, migration and refugees, and consular affairs. He has degrees in History, Asian Studies, and National Strategic Studies form the University of California, University of Hawaii and the U.S. Army War College.

Jean Pfaelzer: Professor of English, Women and Gender Studies, Asian Studies at the University of Delaware and author of  the book Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans. From 1848 into the twentieth century, Chinatowns burned across the West as Chinese miners and merchants, lumberjacks and fieldworkers, prostitutes and merchants’ wives were violently loaded onto railroad cars or steamers, marched out of town, or killed. But Jean Pfaelzer’s book is also a powerful story of how the Chinese fought back―with arms, strikes, and lawsuits—and flatly refused to leave. When red posters appeared on barns and windows across the United States urging the Chinese to refuse to carry photo identity cards, more than one hundred thousand joined what was at the time the largest act of mass civil disobedience in American history.

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