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The Lucky Ones

One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America

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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This expanded edition features a new preface and a selection of historical documents from the Chinese exclusion era that forms the backdrop to the Tape family's story.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 21, 2010 – A thoroughgoing look at the historical record of early Chinese immigration to San Francisco unearths the heartening story of one rags-to-riches family. Columbia history professor Ngai (Impossible Subjects) characterizes her work as history, situating the union of two young working people in San Francisco in 1875 within a larger frame of Chinese immigration, which had been encouraged by the California Gold Rush of the mid-19th century, attracting impoverished men mostly from the Guangdong Proivince. Jeu Dip, an enterprising drayman who had come over at age 12, and Mary McGladery, an indentured Chinese servant (mui tsai) who had emigrated as an orphan and was then rescued from prostitution at 11 years old, thanks to the Ladies' Protection and Relief Society, both became acculturated English-speakers and ambitious to live among the white middle-class. Despite recent legislation limiting Chinese immigration, and growing anti-Chinese racism due to the resentment from the displacement of the white workforce, Jeu Dip, renamed Joseph Tape, flourished as a deliveryman and broker for new immigrants; Joseph and Mary grew prosperous and even sued to have their daughter Mamie attend the local white public school. Ngai traces their descendants, especially their son, Frank, who was tried for extorting money from new immigrants, and his estranged wife, Ruby, who joined the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. Ngai fashions a terrifically readable, compelling work about the little-known middle-class in the Chinese immigrant experience.
The Lucky Ones
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  • $21.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: United States
  • Published: May 27, 2012
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Seller: Princeton University Press
  • Print Length: 344 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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