Saturday, May 21, 2016

Watch Ancestors in the Americas Part 2 Tomorrow in Chinatown

Part 2 will be shown at First Chinese Baptist Church on Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 3PM after your free Cantonese and Toisan lesson from 12-2PM

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper 1882
"Chinese Exclusion Act"
How does this cartoon express the realities of the Chinese Exclusion Act?
ANCESTORS IN THE AMERICAS was the first in-depth television series to present the untold history and contemporary legacy of early Asian immigrants to the Americas, from the 1700s to the 1900s. Creating first-person voices through an innovative "documemoir" approach, ANCESTORS brings to life a largely unexplored past, not found in standard textbooks, and invites a new understanding of American history. Producer, Director & Writer was Loni Ding.

Asian immigrant population has become one of the most visible and fastest growing immigrant populations in America.  The Chinese Laundromat has become a common sight in the urban and suburban sprawl, Asian cuisine has experienced an increase in popularity, and close-knit communities of Asian immigrants can be found in most major American cities.  However, the question remains: Where did these Asian immigrants come from?  When and why did they come?  What impact have Asian immigrants had on American culture, society, and history?


An American Story

Traces the global forces that brought the first Asians -- Filipinos, Chinese and Asian Indians -- to the Americas and the Caribbean in the 18th and 19th centuries, and looks at their lives as sailors, coolies, and finally settlers.

The second part of the documentary focuses on the Chinese-American contribution to the nineteenth-century development of the American West.  The film argues that the economic development of California could not have occurred without the tremendous contribution of these immigrants, particularly in the areas of agriculture, land reclamation, and mining.  However, it also conveys the harsh discrimination endured by this community.  The documentary includes a clearly presented discussion of the unfair laws that targeted Chinese immigrants, as well as the use of the American legal system by immigrants to oppose these discriminatory laws.  An especially interesting comparison is made between the Dread Scott case and the legal position of Chinese-Americans during this period, which helps to contextualize the problem for those unfamiliar with Asian-American history.  The film also discusses the social effects of an overwhelmingly male Chinese immigrant population and the lives of the few Chinese women who did settle in the West, many of whom received the generic moniker, "China Mary."  Like Part I, Part II of Ancestors in the Americas provides a clear presentation of the hardships endured by these immigrants and the influence they had on the development of their new home.

Part 2 will be shown at First Chinese Baptist Church on Sunday, May 22, 2016.


21 Pell Street
New York, NY

If you cannot make the live viewing, Sign up to watch Part 2 at this website at a later date.

About Loni Ding, Producer

Loni Ding's career has been as a pioneering filmmaker, media policy advocate, and university teacher. With almost 30 years as an independent filmmaker and producer, her work has been broadcast on PBS in 14 national programs, and played to audiences on four continents. Her works include: 600 Millennia: China’s History Unearthed, a prime-time special on the 1975 international tour of an archaeological collection from the People's Republic of China; Bean Sprouts, a five-part children's series on multicultural identity; Willie Lobo: Manchild, a musical drama on the ghetto homecoming of a black Vietnam veteran much changed by the war; and two films — Nisei Soldier and The Color of Honor — on the political and moral dilemmas faced by Japanese American soldiers serving in World War II. Nisei Soldier and The Color of Honor were shown to the U.S. Congress as part of their legislative hearings in 1987 and 1988 on Japanese American Redress and Reparations.

Ding’s awards include several Emmy Awards, a Rockefeller Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, a Director's Fellowship from the American Film Institute, and the Steven Tatsukawa Memorial Fund, honoring her works devoted to Asian Pacific Americans.

Ding currently teaches in the Asian American and ethnic studies department of the University of California, Berkeley and has been a distinguished visiting professor at other universities. Ding was most recently appointed to serve on a Distinguished Blue Ribbon Commission to advise the Smithsonian Institution on its review and overhauling of themes and methods of presentation in the 21st century, focused on "What Is An American?"

More About Loni Ding

Asia Society spoke with Ding about her experiences as a filmmaker and the importance of Asian American history.

Purchase this DVD Series: Part 1 and Part 2

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