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Cold War in Chinatown: Fighting for Chinese American Rights in the 1950s

April 28, 2021 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm














In the 1950s, the US government not only called the new People’s Republic of China an enemy of the “free world” but also supported the Chinese Nationalist regime on Taiwan, which vowed to reconquer the Chinese mainland it had once ruled. In response, PRC leader Mao Zedong derided the United States as a “paper tiger” and promised to help defeat American aggression. The resulting international tensions both shaped and limited the politics of Chinese American communities, where activists sought to challenge discriminatory laws and build political power. This talk will explore the surprising and significant ways in which national and international politics intersected with local ones in San Francisco and New York, the two largest Chinese American communities in the United States, during the early Cold War years.

Charlotte Brooks is a professor of history at Baruch College, CUNY.

CPH is a cosponsor of this event with the SMU William Clements Department of History and its Stanton Sharp Lecture Series.

Further Reading

Here, you’ll find more resources to feed your interest in the topics covered at this event.

Brooks, C. (2015). Between Mao and McCarthy: Chinese American Politics in the Cold War Years. University of Chicago Press.  

Brooks, C. (2019). Numbed with Fear: Chinese Americans and McCarthyism. PBS. Retrieved April 28, 2021 from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/mccarthy-numbed-with-fear-chinese-americans/ 

Cheng, C. (2006). Out of Chinatown and into the Suburbs: Chinese Americans and the Politics of Cultural Citizenship in Early Cold War America. American Quarterly 58(4), 1067-1090. 

Hong, J. (2019). Opening the Gates to Asia : A Transpacific History of How America Repealed Asian Exclusion. University Of North Carolina Press.

Lee, E. (2021). America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States. S.L., Basic Books.


April 28, 2021
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


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